For the fourth year in a row, St. Mary’s Elementary School in Annapolis, MD has collected pajamas for the critically ill children in Casey Cares programs. Over the years, St. Mary’s has collected between 550 to 800 pajamas for Casey Cares, between 30 homerooms ranging from Pre-K to eighth grade.
The pajama collection is part of Catholic Schools Week, which celebrates Catholic education, and is a spirit week for the children. St. Mary’s students were out of uniform on Tuesday, January 31st, which marked the conclusion of the month-long pajama drive, and were allowed to wear their pajamas to school.
Gail Hocking, the school’s Spirituality Coordinator, chose to donate to Casey Cares after collecting pajamas for two decades for various organizations. While completing a service project for the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s spirituality coordinators, Hocking became “highly interested in the story behind Casey Cares’ Kami’s Jammies Program.”
The Kami’s Jammies Program was started in 2008 by Debi Katzenberger, a Casey Cares volunteer, and grandmother to Kamryn Lambert, a Casey Cares child that passed away from leukemia in 2007. Lambert was a frequent overnight hospital patient who felt special when she wore a new pair of pajamas in place of hospital gowns. For Kami, who had a flair for fashion, passing this symbol of joy and normalcy onto other critically ill children is her legacy through the Kami’s Jammies Program.
Hocking states, “One of [the school’s] core values to encourage our students to serve others as part of their daily lives.”
For example, she says, “Mrs. Brooke’s third grade class enjoys donating pajamas because it helps kids feel more comfortable when they are in the hospital.”
“Our seventh graders were happy to know that children received a new and warm pair of pajamas. They were especially glad to be able to “brighten” another child’s day,” Hocking continues.
She concludes that this pajama drive is perfect for the elementary school children to partake in because “students enjoy lifting the spirits of these special children in hospitals…and [the kids] are able to connect to this.”
The students at St. Mary’s are joining many other schools in collecting new pairs of pajamas for children in Casey Cares programs as part of the Casey Cares Biggest PJ Party event on April 19. April 19th is Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day and Casey Cares encourages people to wear their pajamas to show their support. Last year, this event helped Casey Cares provide more than 20,000 new pairs of pajamas to critically ill children in area hospitals for a small piece of comfort in a sterile environment.