CHESHIRE — Artsplace is once again the local drop off location for the Pajama Program. The philanthropic project aims to collect pajamas and books for children and adults facing adversity. “Good nights for good days are possible and it begins at bedtime,” is at the heart of its mission.
“Artsplace proudly participates each holiday season and our students are fantastic supporters,” said Artsplace Director Joan Pilarcyzk.
The Pajama Program call to action is to provide pajamas and storybooks to children, individuals, and families in need; children who are suffering from neglect or abuse or are in foster care. It also assists those who are transitioning from homelessness or other circumstances. Additionally, the organization provides education resources on beneficial sleep routines and healthy living for parents, caregivers, and educators.
“Our donations have gone to Global Academy in Hartford, DCF in Middletown, New Reach in New Haven...shelters, and to the Klingberg Family Center in New Britain, just to mention a few,” Pilarcyzk said. She estimates the state needs more than 2,400 pairs of pajamas each year.
Pilarcyzk credits resident and retired Cheshire public school teacher Gerry Woods with the drive’s success locally over the years, dubbing her “the Pajama Program Ambassador.”
Woods has been involved in the program for more than a decade, beginning around the time of her retirement.
“For the first couple of years I would collect the pajamas and books from family and friends,” Woods said. She was then invited to meet Genevieve Piturro, the Pajama Program founder at the non-profit’s location in New York City to learn more about the program. Piturro also traveled to Dodd Middle School to meet and thank students who volunteered with the yearly drive.
Approximately 85 community partners are served in Connecticut, said Woods, who handles mostly New Haven and Hartford counties. The time spent with the program is fulfilling for her, especially meeting all the different people, she said.
Collections of brand-new pajamas, in sizes newborn through adult, can be donated at Artsplace, 1220 Waterbury Road, until Thursday, Dec. 16. Pajamas must be complete sets, with a top and bottom, or a nightgown. The need is greatest for winter pajamas. Artsplace, a town-owned art school, is also collecting new books for children of all ages. For more information, Artsplace can be reached at 203-272-2787.