2012 Goal: To provide new pajamas and books to 30,000 in New Jersey

MIDDLETOWN, NJ -  The New Jersey chapter of the children’s non-profit, Pajama Program (www.pajamaprogram.org) has now provided 100,000 new pajamas and 60,000 new books to children in need throughout the State. The New Jersey chapter was started in October of 2004 with Geri Schleich as president. This was the first chapter formed following the charity’s inception in New York. That first year, 300 pajamas and books were distributed to four (4) New Jersey Receiving Organizations (ROs). Receiving Organizations are institutions around the U.S. where at risk children are living - shelters, orphanages/group homes, foster care homes, and temporary housing facilities.)

This child was read to by volunteers and given a new pair of pajamas and a new book

In 2011 alone the all-volunteer NJ Chapter distributed over 25,000 pairs of pajamas and books to 331 ROs in total.

Currently there are 21 NJ Counties lead by 16 County Coordinators. The ROs served by Pajama Program in NJ include homeless and domestic abuse shelters, inner city hospitals, pediatric HIV clinics, pediatric long-term medical facilities, food pantries, Head Start Programs, DYFS offices, and various social service agencies.

The NJ Chapter also operates one of three (3) Pajama Program Reading Centers. It is located in Red Bank on the grounds of Poricy Park.

Sister Kathleen, Director of Project Paul, Keansburg accepting 100,000th pair of pajamas from Geri Schleich.   Sr Kathleen/Project Paul was the first recipient to receive pajamas from the NJ Chapter of Pajama Program in 2004.

“Our 2012 goal is to see that 30,000 NJ children are tucked into bed wearing a new warm pair of pajamas, and holding a new book that will temporarily take them away from their difficult lives,” says Schleich. She feels the economy has made her wait list of children extremely long, “ New Jersey experienced an increased rate of child poverty at the onset of the nation’s economic downturn in 2008, according to a new report by the nonprofit Association for Children of New Jersey. More than one in eight children, 13 percent, were in a family living in poverty up from 12 percent the previous year, according to New Jersey Kids Count 2010, Schleich continues.”

All smiles after recieving a new book.

Sponsors who have helped the NJ chapter reach this milestone include: ETHICON/Johnson & Johnson, Edward A. Jones Financial, Scholastic Books, Provident Bank Foundation, Hoboken Family Alliance, Westfield Service League.

Schleich says she needs more County Coordinators throughout the state to reach her 2012 goal and to make the difference for children such as those in the care of St Joseph Social Service Center in Elizabeth, “The pajamas and books were great! How comforting for children to be dressed in new PJs and have a new book to read, or to be read to them. With so many children being abused and violated, your program is needed more than ever,” Sister Jacinta Fernandes.

To help:

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pajama Program Reading Center  Poricy Park, 345 Oak Hill Road, Red Bank, NJ 07701, 732-747-6144

(drop off box at entrance for donors to leave new pajamas and new books)

Mailing address for letters: Pajama Program, PO 36, Middletown, NJ 07748