Who’s up for some good ole Christmas Cheer? We are! Last evening at at Cradles to Crayons, the extended family (plus one!) got together to volunteer our time at the Giving Factory in West Conshohocken. For 3 hours we helped sort through clothes, inspect shoes, and pack bags for individual children in need this holiday season. Cradles to Crayons is a great organization that partners with many local Philadelphia charities as a middle man between individuals in need and organizations that donate clothing, toys and various items. The Giving Factory is a large warehouse full of bags, bins and shelves that at first glance looks like a gigantic disorganized yard sale. Through the help of volunteers and a cool staff, the Factory churns out thousands of requests for clothing and goods by individual children and young adults. There’s a simple 4 step process:
1) All the donated new and used clothes are organized into bags; labeled according to boys/girls, size, summer/winter and condition.
2) Next, the sorted clothing is thrown onto shelves assorted by clothing size, tops & bottoms. From here we put together a bag with one weeks’ worth of clothes for each child. The girls worked on matching some cute outfits while the men hastily tried to create throw shirts with pants regarless of style or class!
3) Our favorite workstation was the shoe department. Here we were instructed to dig through 5 large bins of shoes. It was like the land of Misfit Toys… so many shoes without a match, so many hopelessly lost in a sea of rubber, dried chewing gum and colorful laces. After putting on some work gloves we sorted through dozens of pairs and organized them again according to boys/girls and size.
Working last evening really made me feel proud of our family. Walking into a place like the Giving Factory is overwhelming; how does all this stuff get to the children who desperately need clothes & shoes? The staff at Cradles to Crayons, like Caitlin and Brian, have a tremendous job that if taken step by step produces substantial results. For the volunteers like us — Philadephia needs you to reach all those in real need! We hope some of those clothes reach the families by Christmas to feel that much needed Cheer!