First graders from St. Francis Xavier School coordinated a Lenten service project this spring culminating in a visit and working field trip to Cradles to Crayons in Chicago. Cradles to Crayons serves over 30,000 underserved children each year in Chicago by supplying them with the essential items they need to thrive at home, at school and at play. They do this by connecting “communities that have” with “communities that need,” providing an opportunity for many in Northshore communities like Wilmette to truly make a difference.
On April 5th, students delivered donations to the Cradles to Crayons Giving Factory, the Chicago location where volunteers help clean, sort and organize toys, books, clothing and other materials so that they are ready to be used and enjoyed by those in need. The organization works with over 50 social service agencies to determine which resources kids need, and supplies those items free of charge. According to the Cradles to Crayons team, the Wilmette group was able to meet the needs of 273 children during their visit.
Importantly, donors and volunteers are introduced to Cradles to Crayons’ message of “Quality = Dignity.” SFX students learned firsthand the importance of cleaning and restoring toys so they are “like new.” They sorted materials in age-appropriate groupings so that that those seeking donations find organized, high quality materials that are ready to meet their needs. Students then added cards of encouragement to be stored with these items to share happy and uplifting messages with the children who will benefit from their generosity. St. Francis Xavier first graders reflected on what they learned from this visit, including “there are 273 children in Chicago who first graders helped today,” and “donating books makes kids happy.” You can learn more about Cradles to Crayons at www.cradlestocrayons.org.