TRAVERSE CITY — Bedtime. It can be the sweetest word in the English language, ambrosia to parental ears.
Not only because it means rest from the daily duties of feeding, washing, changing and chasing, but for its call to calm, a nightly opportunity to snuggle up, breathe in a child’s freshly laundered (yogurt-free) hair, and share in the rhythmic passage of a read-aloud story. It’s primitive comfort at its finest.
But not every kid — or parent — has this ritual, or its essential components. The transition to bedtime for kids in shelters is often signaled by a blanket pulled up over street clothes, and foster children don’t always have books or pajamas to call their own.
The Traverse Area District Library’s Woodmere Branch is running a Pajama Drive through March 15 to collect pajamas for kids. Pajamas must be new, size newborn to 12 and include tags and original packaging. The collection will culminate in a Pajama Jam Party and Puppet Show storytelling event March 15.
Keeping pajamas on a growing child is no small feat.
“They grow so fast,” said Kristen Tagala. The Traverse Area District Library’s’ marketing and communications manager has a 10-month-old baby.
“When you put that baby to bed, wrapped up like a cozy little bug ... just to think that out there are kids without soft pajamas to keep their toes warm … it pulls at you a bit,” Tagala said.
It’s a first-time collaboration with the national nonprofit Pajama Program. The organization’s One Million Good Nights campaign strives to collect and distribute one million pajamas and one million books to children by December 2015.
The “pajama-meter” currently reads 301,992 and the bookmeter is at 436,164, according to statistics.
“Right now is the coldest time of year. It’s our danger season,” said Daisy Rodriguez, Pajama Program’s Reading Center coordinator. The New York City-based group started the movement to give kids a “bedtime safety net” and now is on the receiving end of “hundreds” of pajama drives annually nationwide.