From the Town of Great Barrington

Great Barrington, Mass.-The staff, Friends and Trustees of the Great Barrington Libraries are teaming up with 128 libraries across the state, and with the Boston Bruins, for their annual pajama drive to benefit the state Department of Children and Families (DCF.)

The PJ Drive’s goal is to collect 12,000 pairs of brand new pajamas for children and teens in need.

“It’s hard to imagine that so many kids and teens don’t know the comforting feeling of putting on PJs before settling down to sleep,” said Pat Hollenbeck, chair of the Board of Library Trustees. “We’re happy to be part of an effort to change that.”

The Boston Bruin/Libraries PJ Drive runs from Feb. 1-March 15. The library’s goal is to collect 150 pairs of PJs for babies, children and teens.

According to Library Director Amanda DeGiorgis, donations can be dropped off in collection boxes at Mason and Ramsdell libraries. “All donations will be distributed locally to children in need,” she said.

Bruins forward P.J. Axelsson and his wife, Siw, started the PJ drive during the Boston Bruins 2007-2008 season as a way to give back to their community. The couple collected 1,600 pairs of pajamas that year.

Amy Riley, a social service partner from MassSTART that benefits from the PJ Drive, spoke about the drive's impact. She said of one child: "Mario, his mom and two brothers are living in an apartment that is not heated properly. The bedrooms are very cold at night, and as a result the children are often sick. Mario and his brothers were also not sleeping well and would end up sleeping together in order to stay warm. Cradles to Crayons was able to provide the family with pajamas, warm clothing, bedding and blankets. This allowed Mom to save money and focus on finding a new, better heated apartment.”

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) works with the Boston Bruins to coordinate library participation in the drive. Libraries from around the state use the Massachusetts Library System’s delivery service, typically used to send books and other library materials, to send their PJs to area collection locations which increases libraries’ ability to participate in the drive.