Our Mission and Model

It’s More Than a Cause, It’s a Kid

The Need is Urgent, Yet Often Overlooked

Childhood poverty is a serious nationwide issue. The average U.S. family in poverty, with two adults and two children, lives on less than $26,500 a year. Consider these staggering statistics from the regions where Cradles to Crayons currently operates:

      • More than 1 in 3 Massachusetts children, 12 years old and younger, live in low-income or homeless situations.
      • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Philadelphia has the highest poverty rate among the nation’s ten largest cities. 3 in 5 Philadelphian children live in poverty.
      • 1 in 2 children in Chicago live in low income and homeless situations.

Without adequate and appropriate clothing, children face unfair barriers and participate in life on an unequal playing field. Across most of the United States, only three (food, housing, energy) of four basic needs are supported by government safety net programs. Cradles to Crayons uses the term “Clothing Insecurity” as part of our efforts to formally recognize the issue, and increase awareness on this hidden basic need.

What Poverty Looks and Feels Like for Kids

The kids we help don’t have shoes that fit. Or a coat warm enough to fend off winter winds. Or a backpack to carry their schoolbooks and supplies. Without these basics, they suffer. They don’t want to go to school. They have a hard time learning in school. They don’t go outside to play. They don’t feel valued.

Our Mission: Cradles to Crayons provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play. We supply these items free of charge by engaging and connecting communities.

Our Vision: One day every child will have the essentials they need to feel safe, warm, ready to learn, and valued.

The Model That Brings Our Mission to Life

Our efficient and effective three-step model provides kids with the essentials they need, free of charge. This enables us to engage communities that have, connecting them with communities that need.

      • New and nearly new children’s items are collected through grassroots community drives and corporate donations.
      • Donations are then processed and packaged by volunteers in our warehouse, The Giving Factory®.
      • Packages from The Giving Factory are distributed to local children — through our collaborative network of diverse service partners.

Take Action

Whether you volunteer at one of our Giving Factories or in a community in your region, or participate in other ways, you will become part of the spirit and energy that enables us to serve so many.

Ways to Give