This is a great time of year to be thinking about charity. Yes, charity. Before you get all wrapped up in Thanksgiving, and, then, the hell that is Christmas shopping, think charity. Just for a few minutes, rest on that word.
Then, think about the fact that this is the time of year that kids are starting to feel that first tickle of need for a winter coat. The bun wore hers one day last week. It was a tad chilly, and, heck, she was excited to have a new coat.
Not every kid has a new coat. Or any coat.
Honestly, this is the time of year that breaks my heart. I picture little kiddos at recess, not running and playing because they are cold. I picture bigger kiddos at the bus stop, hands jammed in their pockets, playing it off like they are cool. But they are cold. It happens. You know it happens. There are simply too many families where a winter coat is on the "to get" list, but it falls behind groceries, rent, electricity, heat, or sometimes just something unexpected. You think, heck a winter coat at Old Navy is like, what? $20? Who can't do that? But you have to remember that there are families without the resources (the time, the car, the ready cash) to seek out the sales and get the best deal.
Luckily, for 48,000 of those families (yes I said 48,000), there is Cradles to Crayons. This amazing woman named Lynn Margherio started a charity 10 years ago. Charity. Her goal was to provide for the less fortunate children in her community. Since she and her team are wunderkinds of determination, her community has grown to be the whole darn state, and Philadelphia, too.
Cradles to Crayons has a simple mission:
"...to provide homeless and low-income children with the essentials they require to thrive - to feel safe, warm, ready to learn, and valued."
That's it. Seems so easy. But it's not. It takes goods, volunteers, and money. I'll wax on about the goods another time, but for now, let's talk money. For $25 you can outfit a child. Outfit a Child. Really. $25 bucks. That's how efficient they are with their money. Crazy efficient.
And, now, I'll test your patience with even more on this group, by reminding you of a post I did last year telling you about this amazing photographer, Kim Lowe, who not only gives her time, but corrals a bunch of other people (stylists, makeup artists, studio owners, assistants) to give theirs, to organize a daylong photoshoot-a-palooza, all to benefit Cradles to Crayons. Yep, you get a fancy photoshoot of your kids, perfect for holiday cards, and Cradles to Crayons gets all the money.
Kim calls it Two Birds. I call it the best idea, ever. To sign up for this year's event, in Boston on November 5th, email Kim or visit her Facebook page. Bidding for a slot in the event lasts until November 1st. Starting bid is $150, which is a fraction of what a private photoshoot would cost you in the real word.
I'll be there. Look for this girl with the huge smile:
Seriously. Charity. Think about it.