A sad lesson we have learned over our 11 years is that too often, children in foster care have little that they can call their own. We have been working to help change that sad fact, even just a little. The letters and cards we receive every week give us insight into how the pajamas and books make a difference for the children. Sometimes the notes are sweet:
(Jessica, age 6) "I feel happy because I got a surprise... it felt like my birthday"
(Angel, age 10) "The pajamas and books I got today, I had a feeling about them. I feel comfortable in the PJs and also they let you express yourself. And the book that I got is the best book I ever read."
And sometimes the notes are not sweet at all and they are the reminders of why the Pajama Program exists.
A staff member from a Foster Family Group in Wisconsin told us twin three-year-old boys who were abused more than once have finally been placed in foster care. They are healing and are now up for adoption. They received our pajamas for their journey through temporary placement to a forever home. She said they now feel so warm and snuggly and special.
We have big goals that cause even me to take a very big, very deep breath. Our 2013 goal is to provide 250,000 new pajamas and 250,000 new books to children in need.
My personal dream from the beginning remains the same today -- to provide each Receiving Organization (RO) on our list with new pajamas and books four times every year for the children they care for. Currently we have about 3,000 ROs across the US. That means we need 1,952,000 pajamas and 1,952,000 books to send out this year. Every year as we approve more ROs the number will grow.
Impossible? No, not with the help and support of thousands of people every year.
Very little to call their own? Not if we can help it.