Volunteer Resources

What exactly will I be doing when I volunteer in the Giving Factory?

You’ll be volunteering in our warehouse, helping to quality-check, sort and package donations at our specific stations to ultimately be distributed to the children we serve.

What should I wear?

You should wear something comfortable, that you don’t mind getting dirty and close-toed shoes. You will be working in a warehouse that is not climate controlled, so please keep the weather in mind and dress accordingly.

What type of donations do you accept?

We accept all kinds of new and like-new children’s items. To learn more about the specific items we accept and our most needed items, please visit our Items We Accept page.

Is it okay if I bring a different number of volunteers than I originally planned?

For capacity reasons and logistical reasons, it is important that you bring the exact amount of volunteers that you originally planned. If you think your number may be different leading up to your shift, please contact the volunteer coordinator you’ve been communicating with as soon as possible so we can plan accordingly.

Why does my group need to pre-register?

It’s important for insurance and logistical purposes for us to have volunteer’s information prior to them arriving at The Giving Factory. We do not share any of our volunteer’s information with outside organizations. It is for internal use only.

Is The Giving Factory accessible via public transit?

Yes. Our Chicago location is accessible from several bus routes and some trains. Try using Google Maps or a similar service for the best route.

When do you offer volunteer shifts?

We regularly offer volunteer shifts from Tuesday through Saturday. Our typical shifts are either 10am to noon or 1:30pm-3:30pm. We sometimes offer weekday evening shifts as well as shifts on Sunday. When filling out your volunteer inquiry, make note of any special requests and we will do our best to accommodate your group.

Is there somewhere to store my belongings during the shift?

Yes, we have coat racks in our lobby you where you can hang your jacket. We also have a lockable bin inside that a staff member will point out during your orientation. We will lock the bin up during the shift and unlock it at wrap up.

I want to volunteer regularly. How do I do that?

If you’d like a leadership role and to help out regularly in the warehouse, you should consider applying to our Champion Program. Please contact volunteerchicago@cradlestocrayons.org for more information.

What is the minimum age requirement?

We do not have a minimum age requirement. Any child under the age of 18 needs an adult present with them for the entire shift when they come to volunteer with us. Volunteers under the age of 5 must have his or her own parent or legal guardian present for the entire shift.

Are there specific adult-to-child ratios?

Yes. Our ratios are as follows:

  • 1 adult per 3 elementary school students (Kindergarten through 5th Grade)
  • 1 adult per 5 middle school students (6th Grade through 8th Grade)
  • 1 adult per 8 high school students (9th Grade through 12th Grade)

*An 18-year-old high school student cannot be counted as a chaperon.

What is the maximum amount of adults that can attend a shift?

We allow adult groups as large as 80 to come volunteer for a regular shift. For larger group inquiries, please contact volunteerchicago@cradlestocrayons.org directly.

My family would like to get more deeply involved. What can we do to help?

You can join our Family Leadership Circle, your child can apply to be in our Teen Leadership Corps or you can volunteer as a family.

Is your warehouse wheelchair accessible?


I'm running late for my shift, what should I do?

The shift will start promptly at the time you were scheduled. If you’re running late, please find your name tag on the purple table in the lobby and come on in to the warehouse. Find someone in a Cradles to Crayons purple shirt can help you find your station.

Do I need to sign up in advance, or can I just stop by to volunteer?

In order for our staff to plan our volunteer shifts appropriately, you are required to register with our volunteer coordinators in advance. Click here to fill out an inquiry form.