All over this country on a regular basis, families are torn apart by domestic violence. Many times children are rushed from their beds in the middle of the night by a frightened parent, with no time to grab even one thing of their own to take with them.
Families can fall on hard times, too. Lost jobs, overwhelming debt, ill health, and hard luck can turn a once settled family into a homeless family without resources or viable options. Oftentimes, personal possessions are abandoned or lost along the way. Children come to shelters all too frequently with literally nothing.
One group is addressing this sad situation by providing care packages to displaced children so that even in a new (and potentially frightening) situation, they will have something of their very own. Founded in 2005 by Kendra Stitt Robins, Project Night Night is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing homeless and transient children with a good night’s sleep, even in strange surroundings. Project Night Night collects, assembles and delivers Night Night Packages designed to provide comfort to children in homeless shelters. Each package contains a security blanket, an age-appropriate book and a stuffed animal. These are presented to the child along with a tote bag in which to carry them.
Project Night Night accepts new store-bought or handmade blankets. Anyone who enjoys sewing, knitting, or crocheting can contribute their lovingly crafted blanket to Project Night Night knowing it will be cherished. But the chance to help a homeless child is not limited to those who make handmade items. Anyone who wants to help can donate books, stuffed animals, manufactured blankets, or even money to the project. More information is available at http://www.projectnightnight.org/index.html.
Providing basic bedtime comforts to a child in need can have a life-altering and long term positive impact. In the dark of night in a strange place, and often after disturbing or traumatic events, having something soft to cuddle with and a warm blanket to sleep under can mean the difference between despair and hope. A book, a blanket, a stuffed animal, and a tote bag may not sound like a lot to those of us who are fortunate enough to have a home full of possessions, but to a child who has lost everything, they are more precious than words can express.
When we grow older, we often remember a moment from our childhood that stands out as golden: a kind word when we were scared, an encouraging smile when we were sad, a gentle touch when we were hurt. For many children, that moment happens when they receive their care package from Project Night Night.