We are currently entering the second month of “Danger Season” – the time of year when temperatures around the nation begin to drop leaving under-served children in need of warm sleepwear and comfort. This same time also marks the second year of Pajama Program’s One Million Good Nights nationwide initiative to collect one million new pajamas, one million new books, and the resources needed to get them in the hands of young children and teens in need here in the U.S. To date, One Million Good Nights has already hit its halfway mark with 500,180 pajamas and 590,428 books collected so far. The campaign will continue until December 31, 2015.
“The gift of a new pair of pajamas and book can provide children in need with a glimmer of hope and a feeling that someone cares about their well-being. In the boxes of pajamas and books we send out every day, we are packing comfort, compassion, affection, hope and a loving reminder to each child that s/he is not forgotten, that s/he belongs,” explains Genevieve Piturro, Pajama Program’s Founder and Executive Director.
Carter’s, Inc. has been Pajama Program’s lead sponsor for the last five years and signature partner in the One Million Good Nights campaign since its launch. Scholastic has been Pajama Program’s leading book partner since 2008.
“We are thrilled to partner with Pajama Program for the fifth straight year to ensure all children feel safe and loved at bedtime,” said Michael D. Casey, Carter’s, Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We are proud to support the One Million Good Nights campaign and encourage our customers to get involved in this worthwhile cause. Together, we can make a difference for at-risk children this winter.”
“We are so pleased to be teaming up with Pajama Program once again to help make sure every child’s bedtime includes a good book,” said Judy Newman, President of Scholastic Reading Clubs. “We know that when children discover a book they love, they are motivated to read more, understand more and learn more. When that happens, everything becomes possible.”
- 1 in 5 American children live in poverty – a higher rate than any other developed country except for Romania. (2013)
- Each year, over 800,000 children and youth in the United States experience homelessness. (Source: U.S. Dept. of Education)
- More than 16 million children in the United States – 22% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level. (Source: National Center for Children in Poverty)
- More than 3.5 million people are homeless every night, and 1.35 million are children. (Source: National Coalition for the Homeless)
- Of the 31.1 million people living in poverty, more than 12 million are children. (Source: Open Door Mission)
- The average age of a homeless person in the United States is 9 years old. (Open Door Mission)
In June 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued its first-ever policy statement calling for pediatricians to advise caregivers to read aloud to their children. This policy is based on the numerous benefits it provides in terms of promoting literacy and social-emotional skills. The lack of literate stimulation in young, impoverished children’s lives is an ongoing problem as they hear fewer words, have less contact with adult role models and limited access to technology. This results in a deficient working oral vocabulary before they even start school. The impact of Pajama Program’s unique approach, packaging caring, comfort and reading aloud with literacy skills, is significant.
In a recent interview with one of the Receiving Organizations that Pajama Program supports, a staffer pointed out that “The pajamas and books make [the children] feel ‘normal,’ like regular kids, like they are included in a normal part of life. Most of them haven’t had what they’d call ‘normal’ experiences.”
For more information about One Million Good Nights, please visit Pajama Program at: www.pajamaprogram.org or call its headquarters at 212-716-9757.
About Pajama Program
Pajama Program is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to delivering new, warm pajamas and books to children in need, many of whom are without parents and/or permanent homes. Pajama Program serves children ranging in age from newborn to 18 who live in group homes, shelters and temporary housing. Since 2001, Pajama Program has provided over 3 million new pajamas and books to children through 60 chapters across the United States. Pajama Program has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities. Pajama Program meets the Better Business Bureau’s 20 charity standards, the highest ranking for non-profits.