For a child, a stay in a hospital can be frightening and highly stressful. But, that hospital and its caring staff are there to help everyone in the community.
With that thought in mind, students and staff members at Emmetsburg's West Elementary have come up with a plan to give back to the hospitals that help young and old alike in our communities, as well as children their own age. And at the same time, the students are also learning a practical lesson in the importance of giving and compassion.
The Great Bedtimes Story Pajama Drive, or Have A Heart, is a service project that began this week at West and will continue through Feb. 8.
With the return of winter, students and staff at West Elementary have embarked on a drive to collect warm pajamas and books for youth who are making a hospital stay. Kindergarten students Allyson Thompson, left, Ella Casey, middle, and Nadia Berkland, right, show some of their donations to the effort. --Dan Voigt photo
During that time, students are being asked to collect a pair of brand new pajamas, and a good bedtime story book to go along with the PJ's. Once the pajamas and books are collected, they will be donated to the Palo Alto County Hospital and the Sioux Falls Children's Hospital.
The choice of pajamas was obvious - the winter season is a particularly critical time when children are most vulnerable to serious colds and illnesses. Warm, clean pajamas help to protect them against night chills and harmful conditions. Emotionally, pajamas are a hug for children who are ill, feel lost or alone in a hospital.
All sizes of pajamas are welcomed, from newborn on up. It is the plan of the West students to deliver the pajamas and books to the hospitals by Valentine's Day, sharing some love and compassion for those in need.
Anyone in the community who might wish to participate in this program can contact Tami Jensen at West Elementary, 712-852-4485, or you may drop off a donation of new pajamas or nightgowns at the West Elementary Office, 602 Call Street.