~ Delivering warm sleepwear and nurturing books to children in need ~
In the spirit of giving every year my daughter’s school hosts a Pajama Program pajama drive. This time of year it is especially important to help those in need. While toy drives are absolutely fantastic and I am sure such a comfort to parents who are not able to provide their children with gifts, sometimes we forget that there are MANY children who do not even have basic necessities such as pajamas and books.
I appreciate the fact that schools host charity drives since they provide us with an opportunity to talk to our children about helping those less fortunate than us. While my parents did a wonderful job providing for my sister and I growing-up, they both worked in careers that provided services to the community (a police officer and teacher) and thus were not high paying, so money was tight. Despite this, EVERY year my parents adopted a family and provided their Christmas gifts for them. I will forever appreciate the fact that my parents instilled in us the knowledge that it is our duty as humans to help one another.
Ten years ago, one New York woman noticed children in shelters and group homes sleeping in their clothes because they didn’t own even one pair of pajamas. She filled a shopping bag with new sleepwear and books and began to hand them out to the youngsters, many of whom were abused, abandoned or neglected. Her non-profit Pajama Program marks its first decade of service in 2011. The celebration kicks off this fall with a series of events beginning October 1, 2010.
Since its inception, the organization has provided more than one million new pajamas and new books to children across the country, operating 79 chapters in 42 states throughout the U.S. The program serves children in need living in group homes and shelters. Most have never enjoyed the simple comfort of having a parent tuck them in at bedtime with warm, clean pajamas and a story.
Pajama Program’s mission becomes more urgent during the period it identifies as “Danger Season” when the thermostat dips and the harsh winter months settle in. Starting October 1, Pajama Program works hard to heighten the public’s awareness of the need to keep these at risk children in warm, clean nighttime clothing and with a bedtime book to allay their fears.
“For so many needy and abused children, winter means endless cold and scary nights,” explains Pajama Program founder Genevieve Piturro. “The winter season is a particularly critical time when these children are most vulnerable to serious colds and illnesses. Warm, clean pajamas help to protect them against night chills and harmful conditions. Emotionally pajamas are a hug for children who feel lost and alone.”
To donate or host a Pajama Program yourself, click HERE to find your local Pajama Program chapter.
image of Genevieve Piturro courtesy of zimbio.com
image of children courtesy of logancountyfcfc.com