Comfort for Homeless Children: Project Night Night
I first heard about Project Night Night years and years ago, before we had children of our own. It tugged at my heartstrings then, and now that I have three of my own it's even harder to fathom that something that we often take for granted--a home of our own--is a basic need that so many children are without.
This holiday season our family will be collecting items for Project Night Night and delivering the assembled packages to a local homeless shelter. Project Night Night is a national 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable organization whose mission is to provide free Night Night Packages to homeless children from birth to pre-teen who need childhood essentials to have a concrete and predictable source of security and increased exposure to high-quality literacy materials during their time of upheaval.
The organization donates over 25,000 Night Night Packages each year to homeless children. Each package contains: a new security blanket which can be cuddled, an age-appropriate children’s book which encourages reading and family bonding, and a stuffed animal which can become a cherished friend— all nestled inside of a new canvas tote bag.
Finding comfort is vitally important for children in order to feel secure, loved, and valued – especially in the midst of the upheaval and uncertainty attendant to homelessness. By providing objects of reliable comfort, Project Night Night reduces trauma and advances the emotional and cognitive well-being of the children they serve.
Here is some info on homelessness from their website:
There are approximately 298,000 homeless families in the United States.
Currently, there are more homeless children in the U.S. than at any other time since the Great Depression. Nonetheless, family homelessness often goes unseen as most homeless families do not live on the street.
Instead, most homeless families are transient, living in shelters, in cars, in hotels in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, or staying with friends or family members.
These environmental stresses negatively influence a child’s early experiences and often lead to an increase in mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, poor sleep habits, and behavioral issues.
Cognitively, children who are homeless often have lower academic achievement, exacerbated by frequent moves, lack of privacy and psychological distress, than do children with homes.
Many homeless children report that they had difficulty finding a quiet place to study or do homework while in the shelter.
If you would like to help, these are the guidelines for the items they need:
New or newly handmade blankets. They appreciate quilted, fleece, knit, crocheted, and store-bought blankets. The ideal size is 50″ x 60″ or smaller.
New books appropriate for ages 0 to pre-teen.
New stuffed animals smaller than 20 inches.
If you're local to the Somerset Hills area, I'll be collecting items on our front porch, or I'm happy to come pick them up at your house. Otherwise, send me a message or leave a comment here with your email and I'll reach out to arrange delivery. I've also made an Amazon wishlist with some different blanket, stuffed animal and book options if that's an easier way to get things to me remotely.
Looking forward to providing some comfort to some of those in need this holiday season--thank you in advance for any help you can provide!