Local youth helping ‘Cradles to Crayons’

  • Greenfield High School student Bob Provost, 13, stands with donation bin. Recorder Staff/Joshua Solomon

  • Bob Provost with Gov. Charlie Baker Contributed Photo—

  • Contributed Photo—

Recorder Staff
Published: 3/27/2018 9:49:43 PM

GREENFIELD — Bob Provost remembers going with his parents to pick up Christmas gifts for an annual toy drive. It’s his favorite holiday and he can’t imagine someone else not having a gift.

Memories like these have helped to shape this eighth-grader’s outlook on community service.

Bob, 13, joined hundreds of students, from nearly every town in the state, earlier this year in Boston to learn about Project 351, the youth-driven service organization.

His teachers at Greenfield High School nearly unanimously tapped Bob to be the ambassador from the city for the nonprofit’s initiative. Now Bob, a Leyden resident, is bringing back a community service project to Greenfield.

“Cradles to Crayons” collects essentials — items for at home, at school or at play — for children, from birth to 12 years old, who are living in low-income or homeless situations. Different “cradles” have been set up this week across Greenfield to collect items — mainly gently used, like-new clothing, coats and shoes — and will remain there until April 6.

“I feel like it’s important to help those who are less fortunate and it builds good character when you care for others,” Bob said.

It’s been a learning experience for Bob, who not only got to head to Boston and visit sites such as Faneuil Hall and the John F. Kennedy Library, but also was able to meet and take a picture with Gov. Charlie Baker. “It was cool to meet him and see him say why this is important,” Bob said.

While Bob will be working on this project until ninth grade, he already has hopes for other service projects — like putting together service packages for veterans and doing food drives.

Eighth-grade adviser and science teacher Judy Bennett is pleased that Bob was picked.

“He just has all the qualities that the project is looking for and we thought it’d be a really good opportunity to develop leadership and give back to community,” Bennett said.

Now Bob is looking forward to seeing how much the community can collect for this annual effort and then bringing it to Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, for the statewide collection day.

“It’s good to know that the people around me know about it and they can do something to help people in need,” Bob said. “It’s empowering because they can do something to help.”

How to help

The Cradles to Crayons clothing and shoe drive runs to April 6.

Donations of gently used, like-new clothing, coats, shoes, boots, sneakers and sandals are being sought.

There are several drop-off sites: Greenfield High School, Greenfield Savings, Mowry & Schmidt Inc. at 15 Power Court and Classic Kitchens & Baths at 20 Colrain St.


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