Needy kids need pajamas. That's the message of a non-profit group that's trying to set a goal of collecting a million PJs and a million books for kids across the country. In this report, NY1's Roger Clark tells you more about the Pajama Program.
Genevieve Piturro is counting donated pairs of pajamas, destined for kids who might otherwise not have them.
"A little, little gift, can change a child's bedtime," says Piturro, founder and executive director of Pajama Program.
That's why Piturro started Pajama Program almost 15 years ago, after volunteering to read to kids in shelters and discovering that most had no pajamas. Since then, the organization has provided more than 3 million pairs of new pajamas and books for children in shelters, group homes and temporary housing.
"It's about the precious moments before bedtime that these children are missing without something clean and warm and without a storybook to ease their fears," Piturro says.
Two years ago, the organization set a goal to collect 1 million pairs of pajamas and 1 million books by the end of this year. Piturro says they are almost there with the help of sponsors like Carter's and Scholastic.
But there is still work to be done.
"We are getting more in and we are shipping fast and furious to get them through deliveries, through anyway possible to these children all across the boroughs here in New York and around the United States," Piturro says.
Pajama Program now has more than 60 chapters in 34 states. The kids who benefit range in age from newborn through 18.
However, the organization says it really needs larger sized PJs and books suitable for older children.
"Especially at an age they are at, 15, 16 years old, that's such a critical time,” says Daniel Leventhal, development director at Pajama Program. “They need to feel cared for. And so these pajamas are really important for these bigger kids."
"You can give one pair of pajamas, one book, or you can give a big check, it all helps,” Piturro says. ”And people get it. They know. We all know who's suffering and who's not as fortunate as the rest of us who can give."
To find out more about Pajama Program and how you can help it reach its goal, head to pajamaprogram.org.