Cradles to Crayons Chicago (C2C) has launched its annual “Gear Up for Winter” initiative to provide Chicago area children with 50,000 winter coats, free-of-charge.
As the only national organization addressing children’s clothing insecurity on a large scale, C2C seeks donations of new and like-new winter coats to provide to its network of more than 70 service partners who directly provide essential social and health services to families.
“Two in five American kids are unable to adequately dress themselves daily, and in Chicago, more than 23 percent of children live in poverty. With the record-high inflation, energy crisis, and household hardship, families on limited budgets face ‘heat or eat’ decisions this winter,” says Dawn Melchiorre, Executive Director of Cradles to Crayons Chicago.
“The coats we provide will be a critical lifeline for families who will not be able to heat their homes sufficiently this winter. This is an urgent matter. For those more fortunate, we ask that as you clean your closets to make room for new attire, consider donating at one of our more than 30 drop-off sites. We’re grateful for our individual and corporate supporters who helped us get our first round of coat donations. Still, we need the community’s support to provide the remaining coats to ensure our children stay safe and warm this winter.”
Through February 2023, C2C will collect coat donations (size newborn to adult medium) and other donations at the North Center Giving Factory and more than 30 participating North Shore and Chicago area locations (listed below) and distribute them directly to partners. Coats can also be purchased through C2C’s Amazon winter wish list, and monetary donations can be received online at cradlestocrayons.org/chicago/gear-upfor-winter-2022/.
Participating drop-off sites on the North Shore include:
• Deerfield: Sachs Recreation Center (455 Lake Cook Rd, Deerfield, IL 60015)
• Evanston: Little Beans Café (430 Asbury Ave, Evanston, IL 60202)
• Highwood: Highwood Public Library (102 Highwood Ave., Highwood, IL 60040)
• Waukegan: Belvidere Recreation Center (412 S Lewis Ave Waukegan, IL 60085)
• Waukegan: Waukegan Field House (800 Baldwin Ave. Waukegan, IL 60085)
• Winnetka: Community House Winnetka (620 Lincoln Ave. Winnetka, IL 60093)
Since its 2016 opening, C2C Chicago has distributed more than 650,000 packages to Chicago area children and hosts various annual initiatives to advance its mission, including Ready for Learning, Gear Up for Winter, Spring Greening, and Gear Up for Baby.
Visit cradlestocrayons.org/chicago to learn more about the winter initiative and how to get involved.