In a heartwarming tale out of Trenton, NJ, a group of elementary school students are learning firsthand the importance of giving back to their community.
Five years ago, a non-profit called Christine’s Hope for Kids partnered with the Trenton Catholic Academy Lower School for the Pajama Day program. Since then, it’s become one of the non-profit’s most popular programs and spread to other New Jersey elementary schools.
To raise money, the kids and their families pay a small fee to be able to wear their pajamas to school. Christine’s Hope for Kids then matches the funds the students raise dollar-for-dollar. Those funds are then used to buy pajamas, teddy bears, books, toothbrushes, and other toiletries for local homeless children.
“Pajamas are fun clothing for kids, especially when worn away from their homes for pajama parties and sleepovers,” says John Fitzpatrick, CEO, Big Feet Pajama Co. “As adults we remember these fun times in pajamas. When purchasing our adult footed pajamas, we often hear from our customers how footie pajamas bring back memories of drive-in movies, pajama parties and Christmas mornings. Giving footed pajamas is also a gift of smiles and happy memories.”
On Pajama Party day, the students come to school wearing festive childrens onesie pajamas and other fun outfits to help pack up the supplies. The students pack the items into pajama bags to be donated to local shelters and family centers, which allows the kids to see exactly how their efforts pay off for those in need.
The annual holiday tradition was highlighted in a special feature in the Times of Trenton, which wrote, “So many times, these children arrive at the shelter with only the clothes on their back. They are scared and lonely. But because of the generosity of the students and Pajama Day, they are greeted with snuggly pajamas, a warm teddy bear and a book to call their own. The hope is this little bag will get them through a tough time and put a smile on their face.”
At the same time, the students get to leave their school uniforms at home and have some fun during the Christmas season. Ideally, the pajamas program teaches kids that giving back to their community is both fun and rewarding. Because of programs like this, the local charity donated 1,285 holiday goodie bags and 945 pajama bags to local children last year.