WILMINGTON —Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, charity and service has been found in unique ways throughout local communities across Massachusetts. From the Tewksbury Wine Fairies to the Into Action $10,000 raffle, the Tewksbury and Wilmington communities have found ways to spread goodwill to those in need, and Wilmington 9th grader and ambassador to Massachusetts Project 351 initiative Sofia Pitzen decided to take action to help children in need.
Pitzen has organized a clothing drive, with the donations going to the Cradles to Crayons foundation.
The drive is being held between July 20 and July 31 during the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those in the Tewksbury and Wilmington communities donating clothes are encouraged to drop off bags at 425 Middlesex Ave., in a marked box by the garage.
Pitzen answered a couple of questions regarding the drive, Project 351 and her previous work.
When asked about inspiration for the clothing drive, Pitzen explained, “What inspired me to start the drive was the thought of how families are struggling even more because of the pandemic and high unemployment rates. I want to give back to my community and I feel that Project 351 has made it easier for me to do so.”
She also explained why she chose Cradles to Crayons.
“I have previous experience with Cradles to Crayons. On Launch Day for Project 351, my team went to Cradles to Crayons to practice community service. We volunteered in the Giving Factory in Boston and we got to experience what it's like volunteering for Cradles to Crayons.”
Cradles to Crayons is an organization founded in 2002, focused on supplying children in poverty with the clothes and essentials they need. Their overall mission, as stated on their website is “to provide children from birth through age 12 with the everyday essentials they need to thrive, at home, at school, and at play. Our overarching vision; a future free of childhood poverty, inspires our work every day.”
Cradles to Crayons was first founded in Boston in 2002, but branched out to Philadelphia in 2006, Chicago in 2016, and has “two more sites in the planning stages.”
Pitzen described one of the challenges that came with planning a clothing drive during a global pandemic by noting, “One of the tricky things about the drive is reaching out to the public about it. I had to do the clothing drive virtually and was unable to do it in school.”
But, she also explained that she did not have to face these challenges alone.
“I would say that an alumni of Project 351 helped me plan this drive, and my parents helped me plan this, as well, and the feedback from the town has been wonderful! We utilized the town’s community pages and that has been really helpful!”
This is not Pitzen’s first charity drive, as she explains: “The other projects that I have taken on is the food drive that was held at my school this year. I am looking forward to more projects next year now that I have successfully completed my first clothing drive!”
Sofia also explained what Project 351 is.
“Project 351 is a non profit organization that gives the opportunity for select 8th graders from each town in Massachusetts to lead and serve.”
Pitzen elaborated on her goal with the drive and how she has already surpassed that goal.
“Initially, my set goal for the drive was at least nine bags or more. I would say at this point I’ve gotten at least 15 bags of clothes!”
She also outlined future goals centered around giving back to her community.
“I would love to continue to work with Project 351 or other organizations throughout my academic career.”
Finally, Pitzen offered advice to those who want to give back to their communities.
“My advice to anyone who wants to do good but doesn’t know how is talk to someone who has experience with fundraisers, drives, etc. or go online and research. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your community because people are so giving and are willing to help those in need.”
Sofia Pitzen’s Cradles to Crayons clothing drive is running through July 31, and more information can be found by emailing her at email@example.com.
Pitzen is a prime example of the good that can be found in anyone, and shows what you can accomplish when there is a cause and a drive to help others. With people like Pitzen and the young ambassadors of Project 351 soon to be entering society as young adults, it will be amazing to see what Generation Z does to spread goodwill, kindness, and change throughout the country, the world, and society.