Many people donate toys to charity at this time of year, but here’s a local charity drive that’s unique and refreshing: some Temecula preschoolers and their families participated in a pajama drive to give new jammies to needy children.
The pajama drive was held for families with children at the Discovery Isle Child Development Center on Temecula Parkway in Temecula.
The drive benefits the non-profit Great Bedtime Story Pajama Program, a national effort that distributes gifts of new pajamas and books to children who are in foster care, group homes or shelters nationwide.
On Friday, the children, wearing their own pajamas to school, showed off their donations and put all the pajamas into some big boxes.
“I brought 10!” exclaimed Kendyl Georgi, a five-year-old from Temecula whose family donated 10 pairs purchased from Wal-Mart.
Conner Bowdre of Temecula, who is 6, also gave a pair. “I don’t know where I went. My mom just got them by herself,” Conner added.
The Discovery Isle preschoolers wore their jammies to school all week to celebrate the drive. This is the fourth year that Discovery Isle has participated in the national pajama drive, which is sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs and the Pajama Program.
Each Christmas, Scholastic matches a set of new pajamas with a book donation to the Pajama Program. Pajamas and books are then distributed by the Pajama Program’s National Headquarters to needy kids nationwide.
Last year, Discovery Isle’s Temecula school donated more than 100 sets of pajamas. The school had hoped to surpass that number by the end of this week but had collected 61 sets as of Friday.
Discovery Isle Principal Dena Houser said the drive would continue through the middle of next week to give families the weekend to shop. She said some parents indicated they would give if they had a few more days.
The Temecula school this year added a focus on character to its curriculum, Houser said, and participating in the pajama drive helps teach the children the value of giving.
“This teaches them empathy,” she said.
Since 2001, the nonprofit Pajama Program has donated more than one million pajamas and books to children nationwide. The Discovery Isle Child Development Center in Temecula is part of Nobel Learning Communities, Inc., a national network of more than 180 non-sectarian private schools in 15 states.
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Amy Bentley is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.