As part of the Nashville community, at Nashville Moms Blog we feel strongly that we are part of something bigger than the small worlds we operate in daily. Nashville is a city rich with incredible not-for-profit organizations and resources that support the many and varied different needs of Nashville families, mothers, and children. Once a month, we will be spotlighting a not-for-profit agency that we feel it is important to share with the NMB readers.
Whether or not my children have warm pajamas and books to read never even makes it into the top 50 of my daily list of things that I worry about as a mom. My worries are much more trivial than that. Even when thinking about children who are in need, I overlook such simple things, assuming that everyone has pajamas. But what about the children who don’t? Maybe I can’t solve all of their problems, but something warm to sleep in and a book to read before bed is a good place to start.
‘Pajama Program’ is a non-profit organization with 60 chapters in 33 states. Their mission? To provide the simple comforts of new pajamas and books to children in need, many of whom are on waiting lists to be adopted. Often, the children that benefit from this program live in some type of group home, shelter, or temporary housing situation. They are often the victims of abandonment and abuse.
This February, Pajama Program is launching a nationwide fundraising initiative — “OPEN YOUR HEART.” The timing of the campaign is in line with what they have deemed ‘Danger Season.’ Danger Season is the time between October and March when temperatures are at their lowest, and children are therefore more at risk when sleeping without warm clothing. Donations are typically highest during the holiday season (as with most giving). But for the children who enter The System after December, this poses a problem. It is during this time of cold weather that the facilities these children abide in see an increase in capacity, with a limited amount of resources. The following statistics show what a dire situation so many American children are in:
- 1 in 5 American children live in poverty — a higher rate than any other developed country, except Romania. (2013)
- Each year, 800,000 children and youth in the Unites States experience homelessness (Source: U.S. Dept. of Education)
- More than 3.5 million people are homeless every night, and 1.35 million are children. (Source: National Coalition for the Homeless)
- The average age of a homeless person in the United States is 9 years old. (Open Door Mission)
Pajama Program would like to collect 1 million pajamas and 1 million new books by December 31st, 2015. They are currently just over halfway to their goal! Let’s help them get there, Nashville!
How to donate: Pajama Program Donations and Pajama Drives