'Good Night' for Children in Need

  • And To All a Good Night!

    Middle School Students Collect New Pajamas and Books for Needy Children on Long Island

    It was well before Christmas and all through the season, students were busy, some with good reason. While visions of “sugarplums” may have danced in many heads, a special group of Sayville Middle School students prepared for the holidays with the less fortunate on their minds.

    In addition to the school community-service programs, Sayville eight-grade student Brock Murtha speared-headed a pajama-and-book drive with the Long Island Chapter of the Pajama Program* to help children in local shelters and foster care across Long Island.

    Working with other Sayville Middle School students, along with his mother, Lisa Murtha, and sixth-grade brother, Macklin, Brock and fellow students gathered one evening at the end of the drive in December to sort and pack the books and pajamas they had collected and also to decorate the boxes.


    “This is our second year doing this project,” Brock explained. “It really feels good to be able to help the lives of poor kids, especially around the holidays. We have fun shopping for the items and putting together boxes of pajamas and books. I can’t imagine there are kids out there that don’t have pajamas, but there are, right on Long Island.”


    Trevor Hotis agreed. “This is a very meaningful project because I’m helping kids my own age who don’t have a lot; it feels good to do a good deed.”


    “We are not affiliated with any church, just a group of Middle School kids wanting to do something for less fortunate local kids,” Lisa Murtha added. “This year our pajama-and-book drive collected 126 pairs of cozy PJs and 66 books. Our donations went to Healthy Families Suffolk, a division of Family Service League, and were distributed to those in need before the holidays. I think seeing young teens give back to the community is a great thing—especially around the holidays!”


    It was a win-win situation for all involved. Not only did those young recipients truly enjoy a good night for the holidays, but the Middle School “givers” felt the warmth of this ‘Pay-It-Forward’ activity in their hearts.


    SPECIAL THANKS GO TO THE FOLLOWING MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS (who are, as Mrs. Murtha said, “pros at brightening the lives of needy children and teens on LI.” ):


             Patrick Folks

             Brett Geffner

             Dan O’Doherty

             Macklin Murtha

             Brendan O’Rourke

             Tommy Liguori




             Sarah Gover



             Brock Murtha (organizer)

             Jayna Catalina

             Megan Bast

             John O’Rourke

             Joe Vanderborgh

             Mike Scoleri

             Nicholas Ligouri

             Jayson Gench

             Kevin Golka

             Michael Corwin

             Connor Smalley

             Colin Unger

             Mike Kontryn

             Trevor Hotis

             Ryan Gover

             Kevin Gross

             Brendan D’Andrea

             Pat Delaney


    *FROM THE WEBSITE: “The, Pajama Program, a 501(c)(3) founded in 2001, was created [and] serves children throughout the nation with 60 Chapters in 33 States. Thousands of pajamas and books are being provided to children in desperate need of comfort and care. The pajamas have come to represent people who care, and they offer security and love for a child abandoned in a shelter or waiting for a foster home. The books complete a nighttime ritual that so many of us took for granted… when Mom or Dad said, ‘okay get your pajamas on and I’ll be right in to read you a story.’ Children in transition seldom hear these comforting words.”