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Pajama drive for local children in need continues

By Staff | Dec 25, 2009

When you are doing after-holiday shopping, consider picking up a pair of kid’s pajamas, organizers of a local pajama drive ask.
Attorney Allan Parvey and wife Cathy have spearheaded a drive to collect thousands of pairs of pajamas for local children in need. And while many holiday charity drives end before the holidays, this drive continues through the end of January.
That’s because there is so much of a need for nightclothes that can help a child stuck in these financial times, said Allan Parvey, president and managing partner of Parvey & Frankel Attorneys.
“They are like comfort food,” he said. “Pajamas make you feel so good, and it is such an important thing for a child. It is a feeling of security.”
This area’s unemployment rate is one of the highest in the country, he said.
“That means more and more children are in shelters,” Parvey said. “Many have to sleep in the same clothes they wear in the day in shelters. They are also homeless because of our foreclosure rate.”
He and wife Cathy started the effort, called the “My Town” Holiday Pajama Drive,” the beginning of December. They learned about a similar charity drive when they were in a northern Florida town.
“When I learned about it I thought it was such a nice idea,” said Cathy. “Then I heard the numbers needed — thousands of pairs — and I thought if they need them there, what about our area? Here we have all the foreclosures and loss of jobs.”
Even though it was late to start a holiday drive, the both believed in the cause so much they decided to start the effort here and extend it through January to get more pajamas.
“We’ve collected hundreds of pairs, but we need thousands,” Allan added. “We’re not even close to our goal.”
Cathy Parvey said that when she started the drive, she called local agencies that worked with children and was shocked at the numbers and the need in Lee County.
“Nations Association is one of the largest agencies we contacted. We also got the Department of Children & Family Services, Cape Coral Children’s Services, Children’s Home Society, Alva’s Angels, Our Mother’s Home, Lifeline Family Center in Cape Coral and more.”
They also have the Lee County Sheriff’s Office on their list, for when officers have to transport children.
“You don’t have to go out of Lee County to see the need,” she said. One local official told her that more and more families that were considered middle class last year are now under the poverty level.”
She and others started calling local nonprofit groups. They started with smaller agencies because larger ones like the Salvation Army had their own drives. But she was shocked by the numbers.
“That was a real eye-opener, when you see the numbers. Nations Association is in need of almost 2,000 pairs of pajamas. The Lee County School Board said they had use for 425 pairs.”
By getting a sponsorship with a local radio group whose stations are in five local counties, they will be working in all five, with a focus on Lee.
Of the name “My Town” drive, she said, “It is a country song, but I also felt like the name said these are staying in the community. Everything we are reading and hearing about in the news is right here in Fort Myers — you don’t have to go upstate where we heard about the need to see it.”
New pajamas, sizes for infants to age 17, for the underprivileged children of Southwest Florida is the goal.
For additional information, call 334-0300.