On Saturday, March 3, Dedham Country Day School hosted a special day of service to benefit children in the greater Boston area served by the Cradles to Crayons organization (C2C). C2C’s mission is to provide 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.

Reflecting DCD’s longtime commitment to community service involving all ages, families arrived together to take part in the school’s first “Family Volunteer Day” to benefit C2C. Joining DCD staff and alumni, they formed a group of nearly a hundred volunteers in all who spent the morning sorting, inspecting, and organizing all the gently used clothes, shoes, books, and toys that were collected during the school’s month-long drive in February. All the goods were then transferred back to the Cradles to Crayons facility where everything will be prepared and packaged for distribution to the children.

Carrying big purple sacks full of donations, volunteers brought all the items from the storage container to the Rand Gym distributing everything among the different sorting stations set up around the room. Each student, parent, and staff member was assigned to work at a specific station. Armed with toothbrushes, spray bottles, and paper towels, volunteers cleaned the soles of shoes, wiped down toys, and inspected clothing and books to make sure every item was in good condition. One of the most challenging jobs was to make sure that the toys donated had all the requisite pieces. With the help of students, Head of School Allison Webster took on the challenge of dismantling and organizing several Lego sets and counting puzzle pieces.

She commented, “We know children – even at a very young age – are able to make a difference in the world and want to contribute to something larger than themselves. Seeing the commitment of our students and families and the tangible support we were able to provide to children and families in need, demonstrates in practice a central value of our school community of being caring, ethical members of the larger world. I am grateful to Cradles to Crayons for their partnership.”
Not even the lack of electricity knocked out from the previous day’s major storm nor the interruption of two fire alarms during the morning could impede the progress the volunteers made toward making a major impact for Cradles to Crayons and children in need. Keeping a running tally of bags, the final count at the end of the event was the following:

Overall: 721 children served
Donated and Sorted: 
Clothing – 54 bags
Shoes – 6 bags
Books – 2 large rolling bins
Toys – 11 bags
Nursery Items – 9 bags

From this count, Cradles to Crayons’ Community Engagement Coordinator Meghan Vogel was able to quantify DCD’s impact. She wrote, “We are grateful and pleased to report that 721 kids will have clothing, books, toys, shoes and accessories because the DCD community generously donated and participated in the Collect and Sort event.”
Click here to learn more about Cradles to Crayons