Pajama Program benefits Pettis County Juvenile Office

By Nicole Cooke - [email protected]

By Nicole Cooke

[email protected]

Some clients at the Pettis County Juvenile Office will be getting some new pajamas and books thanks to a Warrensburg business.

The Pajama Program, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary, provides new pajamas and new books to children in need nationwide thanks to collection drives from local chapters and businesses. It was founded in 2001 and serves children across the country with 60 chapters in 33 states, providing thousands of pajamas and books “to children in desperate need of comfort and care,” its website states.

The Pettis County Juvenile Office serves local youth from birth to age 17 in foster care, truancy court or drug court, seeing anywhere from 75 to 100 kids per month. They received their donation this week from United Rentals in Warrensburg.

“Our corporate office is involved with this organization called Pajama Program and they’ve partnered up with them and collected pajamas and books for underprivileged children at all of our locations nationwide,” said Chris Keith, inside sales representative at United Rentals in Warrensburg. “We collected here at our store in Warrensburg and wanted to donate to someone local and the program chose the Juvenile Office for our donations.”

The business hosted the drive for about a month, ending March 11.

“We did great, we collected 102 sets of pajamas ranging from 12-month to teenage XL size and 155 children’s books,” Keith said. “We had a little competition between all of the stores in the Kansas City metro. There were seven stores involved and we beat every other store, so we were pretty happy.

“… There were several people at the store who helped out, several employees who donated themselves, several customers who donated money when they saw our collection box here at the store.”

The Juvenile Office met the requirement of being a government agency or nonprofit that works with children in need, and it was paired up with United Rentals by the Pajama Program.

“We’ll give (the books and pajamas) to kids who we know need them in our office,” said Chief Juvenile Officer Erica Cox. “It’s just nice to have an organization and a business locally that’s willing to give back to the community and give things to kids. They may just need a pair of pajamas, or they hardly ever have books. It’s nice to have them see the need, set up the drive and do what needs to be done to meet the need.

“Any kid that comes in our office, if we have the size we’ll give them what they need, and if we have books they like, they can get a book too.”

Keith said the employees were happy to find out their donations would be staying in the community to help local kids in need.

“We were very thrilled to find out it was someone close, someone we would consider in our community,” Keith said. “I met Erica from the office, she came in (Wednesday) morning and I was very happy to know, it sounded like they have a good home for the stuff to go to. They have some foster kids in mind for the pajamas.”

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Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.

Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.

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