Giving Children a Chance for Better Sleep and a Brighter Tomorrow
A couple of years ago, Kanata’s Jen Muckler learned something that, well, might have kept her up at night. She discovered local kids in need, more times than not, don’t have pyjamas to put on at bedtime. They go to sleep in the same clothes they wore all day.
Not anymore, though. In 2015 Jen founded the Pyjama Patrol, a grassroots initiative with a mission: “to give kids the comfort and security they deserve for a good night’s sleep.” Since then, she says, many “amazing moms” have joined the effort, helping to spread the word, organize fundraisers, pick up donations and generate donations. “It’s a team effort.”
That effort has been successful because the community has gotten behind the Pyjama Patrol’s annual campaigns to collect jammies for kids aged newborn to 18. Jen answers questions about this year’s drive.
What are the goals for 2017?
This year we are working with Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa. The CAS supported over 1,700 families last Christmas. That number is expected to grow in 2017, and we are thrilled to help. We are also supporting shelters that assist women and children escaping domestic violence, including Chrysalis House, Nelson House and Interval House of Ottawa. Many times women and children arrive at a shelter with just the clothes on their backs and we would like them to have pyjamas.
What do you need?
We need new pyjamas in all sizes, from newborn to adult. We need the bigger sizes the most, as we tend to fall short on teen sizes. If donors would like to add a new bedtime storybook with the donation of pyjamas, that little extra would also be appreciated.
How can people help?
People are encouraged to visit one of our drop-off locations through December 18 to make donations of PJs. New locations will be added weekly, so we ask everyone to check our website, www.pyjamapatrol.com, for the latest collection sites.
We are also looking for offices and schools to hold a “PJ Day,” during which staff members and students who bring in donations of new pyjamas are welcome to wear their PJs. Another way people can help is by taking a hamper we provide and collecting donations of pyjamas from co-workers or customers.
And for the first time this year, donation cards can be purchased at Tag Along Toys, Belly Laughs and the Stittsville location of Kiddie Kobbler. If a business or school would like to sell donation cards, for any amount, and hang the cards on a wall to show support for Pyjama Patrol, please contact us.
Where are the drop-off locations?
2121 Carling Avenue, is collecting to December 24.
All other locations are collecting to December 18.
Tag Along Toys:
499 Terry Fox Drive, Kanata (Signature Centre)
1500 Bank Street, (located in Blue Heron Mall)
300 Earl Grey Drive, Kanata (Kanata Centrum Plaza)
220 Kennevale Drive, Barrhaven
Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids:
2288 Tenth Line Road, Unit 6C, Orleans
2900 Woodroffe Avenue, Nepean
Fab Baby Gear:
1244 Wellington Street West
5685 Hazeldean Road, Stittsville
Villanova Dental Group:
5597 Hazeldean Road, Stittsville
1261 Stittsville Main Street, Stittsville
Hair By Design:
474 Hazeldean Road, Kanata
Tiny Hoppers (all locations):
Check www.tinyhoppers.ca for addresses
To date, what has Pyjama Patrol accomplished?
Since 2015, Pyjama Patrol has collected and distributed over 3,000 new pairs of pyjamas to help children in need. In addition, businesses, groups and individuals have donated blankets, books, toothbrushes and toothpaste to help us make bedtime a better experience. Last year, local dental offices donated over 2,000 toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste. We are asking dental offices again this year for assistance.
Thanks to the generosity of the community, we have been able to support Kanata Food Cupboard, Chrysalis House, Christie Lake Kids, Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa, Lanark County Interval House, Crossroads Children’s Centre, area schools and individuals in crisis.
What have you discovered via this grassroots effort?
The extent of the need is far greater than we could have ever imagined. As a community, we don’t see behind closed doors. The people who support families in need see that kids are sleeping in their street clothes. When we deliver the new pyjamas to the charities and schools, the people who receive them look relieved. They know how much a good night’s sleep matters to a child. We quite often hear about how much the pyjamas mean to the moms too. And that drives us to do more. We know those pyjamas are not just keeping the kids warm at night. They give them feelings of security, comfort and love.
This year there’s more need than ever. We are hoping for lots of help to reach our goal of collecting over 1,000 pairs of new PJs. We truly believe we are giving children a chance for sweeter dreams and brighter tomorrows. Every donation we receive means comfort in an uncomfortable time. Details: www.pyjamapatrol.com.