The following is from the Cottle School in Eastchester. If you would like to submit an announcement on Patch, click here.
Cottle Elementary School students showed how committed they are to improving communities and helping others as they stuffed a specially-decorated yellow school bus with over 300 pairs of new pajamas and 400 books for children in need, as well as those whose lives were overturned by Hurricane Sandy.
Spearheaded and supervised by the Tuckahoe PTA, the collection was a part of the week-long "Stuff a Bus" campaign by the Pajama Program, with the goal of collecting 3,500 new pajamas and 2,500 new books.
Cottle students celebrated their donations by coming to school dressed in their favorite PJs and chanting at the top of their lungs "stuff the bus" as they carried armloads of pajamas and books to the waiting vehicle.
The show of generosity was especially poignant since many of the children's homes were only restored to power recently in the wake of blackouts caused by Sandy.
As Pajama Program founder, Genevieve Piturro, explained “The hardship of living without basics provided by heat and electricity, as well as the comfort of a warm home, lasts much longer than a few days or a week with the children the program serves.
For many of these children, the PJs they receive from the Pajama Program will be the first new thing they have ever owned as many of them currently live in group homes or shelters, most of whom have never enjoyed the simple comfort of having a parent tuck them into bed with nice, clean pajamas and a story.
Piturro hopes that these school outreach efforts will bring awareness to the cold winter months ("Danger Season") and its effect on at-risk children living in temporary housing.
"The PTA in Tuckahoe is just amazing and they're an important part in the education of all children. We provide the academics with support from the family but they really encourage us to make a difference with so many different programs through random acts of kindness," said Principal George Albano.
"We just collected school supplies for Haiti and we started a music scholarship for one of our band teachers that passed away."
As valiant as these collection efforts are, the waiting list for new pajamas is still long as the need is still great. One in every 45 - 1.6 million – American children go to sleep without a home of their own, according to the National Center on Family Homelessness.
The numbers represent a grim 33% increase from 2007, severely impacted by the recession and record unemployment. Without a home of their own, the majority of these children sleep in their clothing at night because they do not own even a single pair of pajamas.