They call it The Giving Factory. And it’s an apt name. Because the cavernous warehouse of Cradles to Crayons and its loading docks outside are often hopping, reminiscent of a manufacturing floor with everyone in motion. The 10-year-old nonprofit, on a side street behind WGBH’s Brighton campus, provides clothing, toys, books, baby goods, and more to needy Massachusetts kids through age 12. In 2011, Cradles distributed some 55,000 packages. And it wants quality stuff — toys with all their parts, matching shoes, clothes that a poor child can wear with dignity. (Hint: They’re always looking for boys’ pants and winter coats.) At peak times, The Giving Factory is overrun with volunteers, who sort and clean donated goods and fill clear plastic bags with orders. It’s a wonderful introduction to volunteering for any child 5 and older. There is laughter, music, the constant rustling of bags, the hum of industrial fans, and the sound of carts traversing the warehouse floor. At the loading docks, staff in purple shirts greet donors warmly with a clipboard. Trucks rumble. Trunks creak open and slam shut. The giving, like the needing, never stops.
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