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Munsey Park School Donates 426 Pajama Packets to Help Others

Bedtime stories can often serve as sanctuary to the youngster who may be apprehensive about lying down to sleep on his or her own. During the month of April, students and staff from Munsey Park School in Manhasset provided some sanctuary of their own to others less fortunate by collecting new pajamas which they paired with new books to form pajama packets. The school’s collection was held in conjunction with the Pajama Program, a national organization that reaches out to children and families who need help the most.

Often homeless, many of the children and families who benefit from the Pajama Program live in temporary shelters, foster care or simply struggle to provide basic necessities.

“Pajamas and books are luxuries that some families are not able to afford,” said Munsey Park Library Media Specialist Kathleen Olwy, who presented the idea of this collection to Munsey Park’s Student Council and advisers Patrick Dillon and Melissa Muller. “As educators, promoting literacy comes naturally to us, so the books are a nice addition to the cozy clothing we are providing, especially when access is limited.”

Student Council members began spreading the word by making posters and speaking to their classmates.

Munsey Park School held a schoolwide Pajama Day celebration on April 17 in which students and staff spent the school day in their pajamas, staff enjoyed a special “Sweet Dreams” breakfast and the school collected the highest number of pajama packets during the monthlong drive. The school collected 426 pairs of new pajamas and bundled them with 426 new books – all donated by Munsey Park families and staff.

Special thanks to Maria Cordell and her third grade class who had 100% participation and collected 43 pajama packets. Additional thanks to teacher Meg Blank and her sixth grade class who collected 51 pajama packets.

Olwy and library teaching assistant Marcia Pollack loaded up their cars with 21 boxes and nine large tote bags of pajama packets. All 426 pajama packets were delivered to Nassau County Department of Social Services, where they were gratefully accepted by Supervisor Grace Castillo.

“Thank you so much for coordinating the pajama drive and a big thank-you to you, your staff, the students and the families of Munsey Park Elementary School for all of the pajamas and books that were collected. Everything that was donated will be given directly to the children we work with in Nassau County. Your efforts were amazing and greatly appreciated. Thank you!” Supervisor Castillo said in an email to Olwy.

Munsey Park also received a beautiful thank-you letter from Theresa McGuinness, Nassau County Director of Preventive Services. In part, the letter read, “To the students specifically, we wish to say that your kindness will change another child’s day. Your acts of generosity will help provide a sense of happiness and pride to many children. Please know that every act like this has a lasting impact on other children. It means a great deal to know that someone else cares about you. Please continue your good works.”