There are lessons in life that are sometimes difficult to learn, and there are some life lessons that leave you with a warm feeling inside. Children learn life lessons as they grow that will hopefully stay with them through their life journeys, and sometimes, we as adults often learn from our youngest citizens.
For the past two years, students at West Elementary in Emmetsburg have undertaken a community service project geared towards children their own ages, making this project even more meaningful to every youth involved in the project. Once again, the students at West Elementary are again participating in the Great Bedtime Story Pajama Drive, otherwise known as "Have a Heart", a service project that is embraced whole-heartedly by the youth and staff at West Elementary.
The project's premise is simple the students at West want to give something back to the hospitals that have touched lives in the community, and to do so, they have decided to collect warm pajamas and children's books to give to the hospitals for distribution to young patients who are hospitalized. For a child who is hospitalized for an illness, a hospital can be overwhelming, perhaps even frightening, and a pair of warm pajamas and book to help take their mind off their surroundings can do wonders for a young patient.
HELPING OUT – West Elementary School students are involved in the Great Bedtime Story Pajama Drive, soliciting donations of new pajamas and books to be given to children in hospitals in the area. Pictured with some of the first donations are, in front (from left) Gracie Beving and Emme Thompson; in back (from left) are Landon Hoch, Allyson Thompson and Ben Saxton. – Dan Voigt photo
"The winter season is a particularly critical time when these children are most vulnerable to serious colds and illnesses," noted Mrs. Tami Jensen, an instructor at West. "Warm, clean pajamas help to protect them against night chills and harmful conditions, and emotionally, pajamas are a hug for children who are ill, or feel lost or alone."
All sizes of pajamas, from newborn on up, are welcomed for the campaign. Pajamas for all seasons are needed, but the need is especially great for the winter months. Those donating pajamas are asked that they be new complete sets or nightgowns only, as well as books for the children to read.
The Great Bedtimes Story Pajama Drive officially started last Monday, Jan. 13, and will conclude on Feb. 12. At the conclusion of the drive, the donations will be divided equally and delivered to Mercy North Iowa Medical Center in Mason City along with the Palo Alto County Hospital in Emmetsburg, just in time for the Valentines' Day holiday the perfect way and date to show some love and compassion for children from their peers.
Anyone who is not contacted by a West Elementary student or wishes to donate to this effort may contact Mrs. Tami Jensen at West Elementary by calling 712-852-4485. Donations of new pajamas and books may also be dropped off at West Elementary, which is located at 602 Call Street in Emmetsburg, between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
"This pajama collection drive is such a loving way to show kindness to others who really new our help," Jensen noted. "The books and pajamas we donate will give these children some comfort and make them feel better in a trying time."