Helping area children in need

In what’s quickly becoming a fall tradition, the Belt’s leadership team embarked Oct. 13 on a day of service.

This time, the team volunteered at Cradles to Crayons, a 20-year-old nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing clothing insecurity for more than 200,000 impoverished children in the Chicago metropolitan area. The charity collects clothing items and school supplies at 49 locations and distributes them via 70 nonprofit partners, such as women’s shelters. Guided by the phrase “Quality = Dignity,” Cradles to Crayons looks to donate 50,000 coats this fall.

“Dignity is the keyword,” said the Belt’s new president/general manager, Percy Fields. “If children look good, they feel good, and it gives them confidence. Responsible children become responsible adults and pave the way for a brighter future for all. It’s rewarding to give back, especially to children.”

Belt employees helped sort and distribute donations at Cradles to Crayons’ new facility in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood, which they call The Giving Factory.

In thanking the Belt’s employees, one of the charity’s representatives said their processing effort wouldn’t be possible without volunteers.

Fields wants community engagement to always be an important part of the Belt’s culture.

“We want to be good stewards to the communities in which we live and operate,” he said. 

Manager of Human Resources and Labor Relations Caitlin Kerney called the event a “fantastic time” and hopes the tradition of service continues and expands.

“We’re a blessed group at the Belt, and it feels really good to help folks in need,” she said.