December 21, 2017 - By Ginna Hall, Senior Writer, Visual IQ
Massachusetts is home to world-renowned universities, companies, and cultural institutions. But despite our many resources, more than 305,000 children live in low-income homes and over 100,000 students experience homelessness during the school year.
Boston-based Cradles to Crayons is dedicated to helping these children get the basics they need. Every December, Visual IQ team members dedicate a half-day to volunteering at the nonprofit’s “Giving Factory.”
"It's really great to be able to take some time out of our day and give back to our community. We all get so focused on our own jobs, we sometimes forget to think outside of our office. At the end of the day I felt like I'd accomplished something important!" said Zack Rosenthal, Account Manager.
Cradles to Crayons provides homeless and low-income children from birth through age 12 with the essential items they need to feel safe, warm, ready to learn, and valued. The Giving Factory is a huge warehouse divided into three areas -- sorting, packing and shopping.
“Making a difference in the community has always been a goal for Visual IQ and I was proud to be a part of the volunteering team at Cradles to Crayons on December 7, 2017. As a first-time volunteer at Cradles to Crayons, I helped sort and pack donation items for local kids,” said Ishraqul H. Khan, Corporate Sales Representative. “It was a great experience knowing that we were making a difference in their lives and having a positive impact! I look forward to participating in more events and giving back to the community.”
Giant shelving units hold bags of clean, new and like-new clothing, jackets, shoes, boots, hats, and gloves while busy volunteers bustle down the aisles, sorting donations and packing them by age, size and gender. These packs are ready when local social workers or other professionals meet a child in need. They simply send their list to Cradles to Crayons, where volunteers use them to “shop” for outfit packs for specific children.
“I've been volunteering @Cradles for the past three years. I love the organization because it helps families and kids that are right in our own backyard,” said Jillian Lusk, Sr. Account Manager. “I think it's important to help your own community and it's fun! I mean who wouldn't love picking out stylish outfits for little girls?”
Cradles to Crayons’ efficient and effective three-step model provides kids with the essentials they need, free of charge. The goal of the organization is “to connect communities that have with communities that need.” Its Gear Up for Winter program supplies warm winter gear to children whose families struggle to stay warm.
“It is very important to me to not forget what matters most in life: to be an agent of good to my fellow man (human being). Volunteering at Cradles to Crayons was an opportunity to help children and their care takers in a very positive and tangible way,” said Jared Robbins, Director, Analytics.
On December 7, Visual IQ volunteers sorted clothes for 126 kids, put together outfit packs for 100 kids, and shopped for 217 kids. We hope our service will make a tangible and measurable impact by ensuring that these children will thrive at home, at school, and at play.
“Year two of volunteering at cradles and crayons. Our team helped over 300 kids. It is rewarding to work for a company that will donate my working hours so I can give back,” said Poliane Mallaghan, Corporate Sales Representative.
“This was my first time volunteering at Cradles to Crayons. I definitely want to go back again! Cradles to Crayons is a truly impressive organization that has helped over one million children,” said Moira Freeman, Product Marketing Manager. “I felt privileged to have the opportunity to volunteer while getting to know my Visual IQ coworkers on a more personal level. Thanks to everyone who organized the event!”
“As I grabbed each one of the slips and read them, I realized they were all simple items but a necessity, many, including myself, take for granted everyday. You forget until you volunteer how much you can make an impact by doing the smallest of things; be it picking items for children, walking a dog at a rescue, helping at a homeless shelter. I think if everyone did something, imagine the huge impact there could be in the world. It was a humbling and worthwhile experience,” said Ameeta Nath, HR Business Partner.
Cradles to Crayons’ “Give Back with an Outfit Pack” program lets you and your family, friends, and colleagues go shopping for desperately needed winter layers that will go directly to local children in need. Shop online and use the Amazon Wishlist to ship items directly to the Giving Factory.
"Working with Cradles to Crayons has been a rewarding experience! It feels good to be able to give back to the community!" said Yolie Munoz, HR Assistant.
Our annual event is the capstone of a year of in-house volunteer opportunities. These hands-on events at our Needham office are coordinated with the help of Building Impact, a nonprofit that creates volunteer opportunities by connecting companies with local organizations.
This year, Visual IQ employees pitched in to help twelve high-impact, local nonprofits working on critical social issues. We worked with incredible groups that make life better every day for domestic violence survivors, homeless men and women, public school students, service members, seniors, homeless and low-income children, and abandoned cats and dogs.
We're grateful for the chance to share our good fortune and assist communities in and around Boston. Visual IQ will continue our volunteering efforts to make an even greater impact in 2018. We wish you a very healthy and happy New Year!