Kindness Matters Blog Post - Two Boys staring out at ocean

Kindness Matters

Starfish Kids clothes are made to brighten your day. But as a brand, we strive to bring joy beyond just your closet. From the get-go, one of our biggest priorities was to find a meaningful way to give back. 

And when we met Shoshana Buchholz-Miller, Executive Director of Cradles to Crayons, we knew we’d found the perfect charitable partner. The mission of this super-awesome Chicago organization is to make life better for children in need. By providing new and gently-used necessities (clothes, hygiene products, diapers, books, school and art supplies), they level the playing field and set kids up to thrive. 

Shoshana has spent her whole career working in human rights. The thing that really drew her to Cradles to Crayons is that it provides a right that all children should have but that isn’t always recognized as a need. She told us, “There is support for struggling families around healthcare, housing, and food, but no government support for clothing and those basic necessities. If we aren’t doing it, these children either go without, wear things too big or too small (which affect their confidence), or skip school on terribly cold days because they don’t have proper outerwear. My goal is to serve as many children as possible with the items we provide.”

We chatted with Shoshana about how all this magic happens, little ways you can instill kindness in your kids, and fun things your family can do to get involved and make a difference. 

We’re All In This Together

Cradles to Crayons works with social service agencies, schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, and shelters to identify children in need of their services. For the items they provide, they rely on the community – individual donations and drives held by companies, schools, and faith groups.

Instilling Kindness In Kids

As soon as our kids could sit at the dinner table and listen, we started talking to them about how we can help people that don’t have the resources we’re so lucky to have. Simple actions like going through their clothing to donate is a great hands-on way to relay the message. Kids see needs and inequities all the time. When they ask, don’t redirect or ignore the question – talk about how you can help those people. I also highly recommend the books Kamala And Maya’s Big Idea and Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed.

All The Feels

Our warehouse where volunteers come and sort items is named The Giving Factory. We believe quality equals dignity, and we want the kids to be proud of the items they receive, so we go through each one to make sure it’s free of rips or stains, that zippers work, and name tags are removed (so it looks and feels like new). Then we create customized outfit packs – a week’s worth of clothes that all mix and match, so each child has plenty of options. Any items that don’t make the cut are donated to a textile recycling partner, so they don’t end up in a landfill. 

Hit The Road

Once the outfit packs are assembled, some depart The Giving Factory on the Magic School Bus, a bus company that donates weekly trips to deliver the goods to teachers and social workers that distribute them to the children. Others get picked up right at the warehouse.

Get Involved

If you live in the Chicago area, come on your own or as a family – children as young as 5 are welcome to volunteer in the warehouse. You just sign up for a shift (both weekdays and weekends are available). The impact volunteering has on people is very tangible – The Giving Factory is a super special place in that way. You could also do a collection drive in your neighborhood, community, faith organization, or school for gently-used items. 

In addition to Chicago, Cradles to Crayons also has locations in Boston and Philadelphia, and NYC is coming soon. It’s also super-easy to make a donation online

Starfish Kids is proud to give back to Cradles to Crayons with every purchase to support the amazing work they’re doing for children in need.