Volunteers make sure donations find good homes during a season of giving

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CHICAGO — Inside a warehouse on Chicago’s Northwest Side, the fruits of a season of giving are being examined, sorted and shipped for hundreds of children.

This is the hub of Cradles to Crayons, a nonprofit that finds the needs of a community like Chicago and works to meet it. This season it's new and gently used clothes. So after calling for donations, the organization brings them in to volunteers who evaluate them and send them to the right place.

"They’re bringing product, they’re checking it for quality and ultimately we’re creating highly customized gift packs for every kid who needs our support," explains Cradles to Crayons CEO Bernard Cherkasov.

Since coming to Chicago two years ago, the organization has seen a steady increase in requests for help. In the last week, 578 new requests came in from all over the city. Now they're being filled by volunteers who came in on a Sunday morning to lend a hand.

"It’s all about giving," volunteer Lindsay Farbman said. "Christmas is all about giving."

It's lesson in giving to kids, although some are already doing their part by volunteering too.

"Children can learn at a young age that they can do for others and they can give back. They see their parents doing it but they can do it too," said volunteer Emma Feltzin.


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