By Ukee Washington

By Ukee Washington

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WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa., (CBS) – For years, Cradles to Crayons has been collecting emergency clothes and supplies for children from birth to age 12. But their students won’t get a good start to the school year without some help.

Their huge warehouse in West Conshohocken is so stuffed with donations, you might not think they need more, but they do.

“We’re looking at over 400,000 school children living below poverty in this region,” said Susan Hight, director of development for Cradles to Crayons. “The need is overwhelming.”

What comes in, goes out fast. Hundreds of volunteers a week sort, fold, and clean donations of everything from clothes to toys.

Kathleen Needleman of Reimbursement Technologies was one volunteer. “Everyone loves children, so I think it’s something that touches everyone’s heart,” she said.

Cradles to Crayons is collecting school supplies now in time for the new school year.  “Copy books, pencils, pens, backpacks — for many families whose resources are extremely strapped, to find the type of money that it takes to purchase those products is extremely difficult,” said Hight.

John Brown, 16, is a volunteer. “Education is pretty much the key to success these days,” he said.

Michael Schwoerer, 16, agreed. “Basically without the tools to learn, you can’t learn,” he said.

People can either donate supplies directly at several drop-off spots throughout the region or make a monetary donation. You can fill a backpack for one child for $15. Their goal is 22,000 backpacks.

“And as we all know, those supplies will run out pretty quickly,” Hight said. “So they’re able to come back to Cradles to Crayons, restock, and keep that backpack filled throughout the year.”

To donate to the Ready for School initiative, find out more here:

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For a list of upcoming collection events, keep track at

Collections are being held at the following malls:

Starting August 1

Springfield Mall, 1250 Baltimore Pike, Springfield, PA

Starting August 2

Boscov’s Exton Mall, 100 Exton Square Mall, Exton, PA

Starting August 9

Boscov’s Granite Run Mall, 1067 West Baltimore Pike, Granite Run, PA

Starting August 10

Franklin Mills Mall, 1455 Franklin Mills Circle, Philadelphia

August 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Willow Grove Park Mall, 2500 W. Moreland Road, Carousel Entrance, Willow Grove, PA

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Cradles to Crayons website:

Ukee Washington