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Cradles to Candles makes a production of charity

Friday, November 12th, 2010

This weekend a charity in West Conshohocken will turn philanthropy into an assembly line. Cradles to Crayons is an organization that collects, packs and distributes second-hand goods to needy children. In the process, it will put its donors to work.

It’s called an “un-gala,” because instead of gowns and cheese trays the fundraising event for Cradles to Crayons involves old jeans and comfortable shoes. The process is much like building a car on a production line, as volunteers at different stations inspect donated clothes, books, and toys; arrange them into care packages; and load them onto trucks to distribute to community agencies around Philadelphia.

Executive director Michel Smith said in three hours, the volunteers will prepare four thousand packages — each tailored for a specific child.

“Those 450 partnering agencies enter orders online, describe with a name, the age, any specific requests like a birthday or an interest,” said Smith. “Anything that we can select additionally to make it personal for the child.”

About 300 families are expected to participate in the packing session. They’re paying for the privilege, to the tune of $300 for a family of four.

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