This year, spread the spirit of giving. Donate a set of new pajamas for kids and teens in DC’s foster care system.
The DC Holiday Pajama Drive was started by Kathleen Jackson, herself the mother of three boys adopted from the foster care system. She said in a Facebook post that when her kids were placed with her, like many foster kids, they came with only the clothing on their backs.
“Many, like my boys, have never had pajamas, certainly not new pajamas,” she wrote.
In 2010, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. Required to rest in isolation to avoid infection of any kind, her friends and family inundated her with pajamas and soft fuzzy socks and slippers, she said in a telephone interview.
The next year she and her sons decided to undertake the DC Holiday Pajama Drive to take the focus away from her illness, and put that energy somewhere positive.
“It was a diversion for them, so they could feel less afraid,” she said.
It was her family’s tradition to get a new pair of pajamas at Christmas, she said on the Facebook page. “I remember the joy my oldest son expressed when he got his first pair of new pajamas. He pranced around our home, gleefully chanting that he loved his pajamas.”
In that first year, they set a goal of 200 pairs of pajamas, and received more than 400. “My house was very little, and there were just stacks of pajamas on the floor,” she said in the interview. “It was not common to see the boys pile them and just jump right in.”
The next year, she asked for 500, and got 800.
The drive’s success caught the attention of CBS news in 2014.
In six holiday seasons, the drive has collected more than 6,000 sets of pajamas from all 50 states and from all around the world.
“We’re aiming for 700 pairs,” she said of the 2017 Drive. “Right now there’s 1000 kids that CFSA [the District Child and Family Services Agency] is providing for. We’ll get them all pajamas.”
Pajamas are needed in all sizes, from infant to adult XXL for teens, as well as socks, underwear, slippers, hats and mittens.
Donations can be dropped at all Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Stations from Nov 1st to Dec 16th. There are collection bins in the lobbies at First District Station (101 M St. SW) and at the First District Substation (500 E St. SE).
In Maryland, donations can be made at Luxuria Salon and Spa (18207 Hillcrest Ave. Olney).
Pajamas can also be shipped to DC Holiday Pajama Drive, C/O Millie’s Market 1452 D St. NE Washington, DC 20002.