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Collecting pajamas for the needy

I think that sometimes, as kids, we don't realize everyone doesn't have it as good as we do here in Sayville and West Sayville. My friends and I decided it would be a nice idea to do some community service to help kids around the holidays and bring some

Christmas joy.

We contacted Pajama

Program, whose mission is to give new pajamas and new books to children in need. Winter is considered a dangerous season because it is so cold, especially here in New York, and kids need to be able to stay warm at night. Many of the kids in need live in

shelters, group homes or orphanages and get moved around from place to place. Some of them live at home but in poverty, and never get new stuff, and don't even own pajamas.

My friends and I held a pajama and book drive for one month. To collect these items, we sent emails, texts and tweets to family members and friends, asking them to donate new pajamas and books. We printed fliers and put them in our neighbors' mailboxes. My friend Connor Smalley hosted Thanksgiving at his house, and to get in the door, you had to donate a new pair of pajamas. A lot of us collected money, then went shopping at Target and Old Navy and picked out pajamas. I had relatives from as far away as San Francisco send donations.

Our goal was to collect 100 pairs of pajamas and 50 books. We collected more than 150 pairs of pajamas and more than 95 books. We got together on a Saturday in December to sort all of the pajamas by size and all of the books by reading level. The UPS store in

Sayville donated boxes for us to decorate and put all of the donations in, and the Sayville Congregational United Church of Christ let us use the rec room to get together.

It really got us in the Christmas spirit. It feels good to help others who don't have much.

Our donations were picked up by a representative of the Long Island Women's Empowerment Network, and were sent to a shelter in Brentwood. The representative told us about the kids in the shelter and how they never get new stuff, so this made us feel great that we could help them out.

If you want to set up a project like this go to: and click on Start a Drive. It feels good to pay it forward, and our plan is to do this every year.

A special thanks to Pastor Gary Brinn and Heather

Corcoran from the Sayville Congregational church for letting us use the church hall, and also Bob Hustick from UPS Sayville for donating the boxes and tape.

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