Pajamas for the Holidays
Sayville Students Collect Pajamas for HELP SUFFOLK
The Third Annual Pajama Program Drive convened a “pajama party” of approximately twenty-five Sayville students to the Sayville Congregational Church for a special purpose—to prepare gifts of pajamas and books for those less fortunate.
Working once again in conjunction with www.pajamaprogram.org and thanks to the generosity of the UPS of Sayville that donated boxes and tape, the students volunteered their time to sort pajamas by gender, age, and size, pack, and then decorate boxes for the 117 donated pairs of pajamas and 73 books they had collected this year. This concerted effort not only will bring a little extra comfort in time for the holiday season to homeless children it also rewarded the mix of Sayville High School and Middle School student volunteers who experienced the wondrous spirit of good will.
“Our donations this year will be going to Help Suffolk,” explained Lisa Murtha, mother of Brock the Sayville High School Freshman who launched this drive when he was a Seventh-grader three years ago and who continues to organize it still. “HELP Suffolk is a 76-unit transitional housing facility for homeless families.*”
“We have so much fun getting together to decorate the boxes and sort the pajamas by size and pack them,” explained Seventh-grader Macklin Murtha, Brock’s brother. “We listen to Christmas music and have food. Not only is it fun for us, it’s meaningful because we are giving to kids who don’t have much.”
“I love doing this every year,” Freshman Joe Vanderborgh said. “It’s become a tradition for the holiday. We are so lucky and it feels great to do something for kids and families who are down on their luck.” Fellow Freshman Kevin Golka agreed. “This is my third year doing this, and I hope we continue it for many years. It’s something that kids can do for kids, and it just feels right.”
Lisa Murtha added with pride and enthusiasm that watching the students be so engaged and committed to this very "feel good" project was ‘truly amazing.”
*Extracts from their website:
HELP Suffolk is the largest housing facility for the homeless on Long Island. The complex sits on seven acres of property and consists of four residential buildings, a community building, two playgrounds and a baseball field.
HELP Suffolk is the most cost-effective model for homeless family housing in Suffolk County, costing approximately one third less than what it costs to house families in motels and other emergency housing facilities which offer few or no services. This year at the Help Suffolk location children represent more than 40% of their residence homeless population. Nationwide, 1.6 million children experience homelessness each year.
Homelessness is traumatic for every person who experiences it, but it is even more damaging for children. Homelessness is associated with higher rates of asthma, obesity, hunger, emotional problems, and learning disabilities in children. First and foremost, HELP Suffolk provides safe places for homeless children to live. In addition they also administer programs that help minimize the stress of being homeless for these kids ages newborn to eighteen.