The past few weeks at Cradles to Crayons have been mostly administrative and office work. During the summer, it seems there actually are less individual volunteers requesting hours. I found this very strange since school is out and I would have assumed they would had more time to volunteer but then I realized that throughout the school year, there are a lot of students volunteering—most of which go home for the summer break. So for the most part, we have had a lot of bigger companies, such as New Balance or Bank of America—come in for their “Service Days” which include at least 50 of their staff members. So prior to their visits, I have been registering them into our database, making sure we have as much contact information as possible and of course, make sure everything, including their service hours, are up to date. At the end of each month, we send out a report that runs through how many volunteers we had that month, how many hours they completed, and how many bags they filled or children the served. Each station in the warehouse has a certain ratio. For example, in the outfits station, if a volunteer is able to complete three bags (typically at least 6 bags per volunteer per 2 hour shift are completed), they are able to serve 1 child. We like to keep track of all the information and at the end of the shifts, we bring the groups back together for an “impact” report and share the data from the shifts.

Aside from this task, I have also been helping another staff member with some other administrative tasks dealing with TLC, a teen leadership group. They are basically like summer interns who complete their own collective drive and volunteer hours in the warehouse. The Spring session for TLC ended in May, so I got together impact reports and certificates which I then mailed out to all the members of TLC Spring Session. Then, I also got together an emergency contact folder for the new Summer Session of TLC.

Every Thursday I have been volunteering in the warehouse. Two weeks ago, I worked in the books station. What I had to do was look through the Girls Age 7-8 bin and try and find some neutral books that I can transfer to the Boys Age 7-8 bin because we are really running low on that gender and age group for books. I was actually able to make two new bins out of that. Last week, I volunteer in shopping, which is essentially the last step the process. We pick up a slip which says the child’s name, age, and items they need. We then go around the warehouse picking out these items and then bag it up and send it off to be shipped! This is a very rewarding station, but also an extremely heartbreaking one. At times, there will be some children who will not be able to receive much from us because we are so low on certain sizes or items. If a child is asking for shoes and clothing (we never run out on clothing), sometimes, they will only receive the clothing because we do not have their shoe size. It’s extremely sad and is something that we are trying to work on.

Today, we are only have a 10am-12pm shift because at 1pm we are having a staff BBQ for the fourth!! Next week, I will let you know about our Backpack-A-Thon!