Boston Universities Team Up To Help Kids Through Cradles for Crayons

Students, faculty, and staff from Harvard, Boston College, Boston University, MIT, Northeastern, and Wellesley gathered together to volunteer for Cradles to Crayons last Friday as part of the Greater Boston Universities’ Week of Service.

Volunteers helped the non-profit—which sends clothing, school supplies, books, and other essentials to children in need—package 663 winter clothing bundles with pants, sweaters, and other winter gear necessities.

“This winter, we expect requests for 15,000 winter coats and 10,000 hats and mittens,” said Lynn Margherio, the group’s founder. “We’ve had hundreds of students across the Harvard campus come out to volunteer since the beginning of this year.”

The Week of Service falls in line with President Drew G. Faust’s initiative to engage the Harvard community in volunteering opportunities and to promote public service.

Carolyn W. Chou ’13, a Phillips Brooks House Association volunteer at Cradles to Crayons on Friday, said that the University approached PBHA to participate.

“It’s important to encourage initiatives through the university to do public service, as well as to hear what other non-Harvard students are doing to figure out how we can all work together to provide the quality services we want to for youth and families,” she said. “Cradles to Crayons is an ideal organization to work with because it provides not only social and emotional support to kids, but also tangible resources such as clothing and school supplies.”

The Week of Service was the first coordinated volunteer week across all six university campuses.

“The six presidents had dinner and came together to talk about students sharing community service experiences cross-campus,” said Maile Takahashi, director of community programing at the Harvard Public Affairs and Communication Office. From that discussion evolved the coordinated service week between Cradles to Cradles and the universities.

“Cradles to Crayons has been a terrific organizer and a great example of social entrepreneurship,” Takahashi added. “I’m hoping that people take away from the volunteering experience that everyone can make a very real and tangible impact to better our community.”