09/05/2013 01:27 pm ET Updated Nov 05, 2013

Feeling the Chill in the Air


This morning as I left my house for the train station I felt a strange chill in the air that surprised me. Not only was I reminded that it's September already, but the chill brings with it a larger reminder for me -- "Danger Season" is near. I grew up loving the fall. I looked forward to the daily cool breezes, pumpkins and apples ripe for picking, cozy sweaters and gloves and a hot drink after a day outside. Now Pajama Program gears up for our most significant contribution -- the new warm pajamas and story books we provide to children through this time we call "Danger Season."

October 1st is the start of "Danger Season," the coldest time of year for the children we serve. This is the time our mission becomes more critical. Temperatures begin to drop and we accelerate our efforts to raise awareness about the need to keep our children in warm, clean sleepwear. A special new bedtime book is so important to lessen their fears as they close their eyes to sleep.

For many neglected and abused children, winter means endless cold nights without the warmth of a parent's love in which to bask or warm pajamas in which to snuggle. The winter season is a particularly critical time. This is the period when children without proper clothing are most vulnerable to serious colds and other ailments. Proper pajamas help to protect them against night chills and preserve their health. Our Call to Action for "Danger Season" will make a difference in the lives of all our children.

Last year I read that more than 1.6 million children in the U.S. are homeless each year. It took me a while to get over that stat but we see and hear proof every day. The living situations for the children we see are varied. Some live in homeless shelters or group homes/orphanages, many in unsafe and cold dwellings and too often their "homes" are cars or even more unacceptable places. Our mission is to provide a loving environment for children who have lived through a great deal of hurt in their young lives.

Bedtimes should be warm and safe and all children deserve to feel loved and comforted as they crawl into a proper bed. We can't solve the homelessness problem, or feed everyone who is hungry. But we are working hard to wrap our arms around a single niche -- bedtime. We hope in this small way we are wrapping our arms around these children as they fall asleep at night.