BRIGHTON, MA — You'd think it'd be pretty difficult to find a big group of happy children inside answering questions asked by adults on a beautiful snowy weekend, but that was exactly the scene on Saturday as a group of 400 volunteers gathered for Cradles to Crayons seventh annual "Un-Gala" event in Brighton.
An Ongoing Partnership...
Saturday, the Boston Bruins continued their partnership with the Cradles to Crayons organization at its seventh annual Un-Gala.
Jennifer White, Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships at Cradles to Crayons, appreciates the strong partnership the charity has with the Boston Bruins.
"The Bruins brand and their sense of community is huge," said White. "Their support of Cradles to Crayons over the years, day-in and day-out, has really enabled us to sort of build Cradles to Crayons reputation with the fan base of the Bruins as well.
"The two working together in the community on behalf of local kids. It just makes a lot of sense and we wouldn’t be where we are without the support of the Boston Bruins."
According to Elizabeth Farley, Marketing and Communications Coordinator for Cradles to Crayons, about half of the volunteers at Saturday's Un-Gala were children.
She said that the appearances of Blades and the Bruins Ice Girls will give them the motivation to continue to support their community.
"I think it really just gives them a good role model," she said. "It really helps us to get the kids pumped up to volunteer."
For Ice Girl Holly, she was simply appreciative for the opportunity to come and lend her support.
"It’s great to be a presence in the community representing the Bruins and I think the kids really appreciate seeing us out here,” she said.
Local children and their parents packed into the Cradles warehouse in Brighton to prepare warm-clothing packages and paint bookcases for those in need throughout Massachusetts.
As the volunteering began, Blades, the Bruins mascot, and Ice Girls Holly and Kaeleigh stood in the bookcase-painting station, where they asked trivia questions to eager children who were there to help.
A correct answer won you a novelty plush puck, but more importantly, the Bruins involvement reinforced the influence and importance of Cradles to Crayons’ work.
"Half of our guests here today are kids, and it just gets the kids so much more excited about volunteering and giving back," said Elizabeth Farley, Marketing Communications Coordinator for Cradles to Crayons. "They’re so excited."
As work began, the Ice Girls interacted with the busy volunteers, and, of course, helped decorate the bookcases, which will later be sent to charter schools in Dorchester.
Even Blades picked up a paintbrush and stenciled out an orange flower, and then signed his work.
"We helped to kick off the event a little bit. We started out with a cheer, and we asked the kids some trivia questions, and gave away prizes," said Ice Girl Holly. "It’s really been nice to get out into the community, especially when it’s a charity that effects such a wide range of people across Massachusetts.
"That’s really important to us."
Having the Bruins involved is important to Cradles to Crayons, as well.
"Our partnership with Bruins is longstanding," said Jennifer White, Direcor of Development & Strategic Partnerships for Cradles. "It’s probably since our inception; we’re 10-years-old, and the Bruins have been with us the entire time.
"Having Blades here today — just look around; the kids are so excited to know that the Bruins and the community is strong, and supporting Cradles’ efforts."
And as much as the day was made more exciting for some of the volunteers thanks to the presence of Blades, everyone remained focused on the the work Cradles to Crayons does in the community and how events like Saturday's support those important efforts.
"This is our busiest time of year," Farley said. "We serve half of the children during the months between October and December, so we really depend on volunteers.
"We have about 1,500 orders a week during the months of November and December because it’s just cold out there, and kids need coats, hats and gloves, and all those warm, winter essentials."
That’s why it was an event, and a group, the Bruins remain eager to support.
"It’s really great to be able to come out in the community and interact with everybody, and just get out there and help Cradles to Crayons," said Ice Girl Kaeleigh. "It’s a really great organization."