Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso partnered with several charities, including the Goodwin Sunshine Foundation and Brooklyn Book Bodega, to donate books and pajamas to hundreds of children living in shelters throughout the borough this holiday season.
“Every child should be able to enjoy the holiday magic of a cozy winter night in Brooklyn,” said Reynoso in a statement.
“While we build the policies that put long-term, dignified housing within reach for all families in Brooklyn, it’s initiatives like this that can provide relief and comfort in the short term. I’m so grateful to the local organizations, family shelters and companies who teamed up to spread the joy of a good book and comfy pajamas to local kids living in shelters, and I wish all of Brooklyn a very happy holiday season,” said Reynoso.
The organizations started handing out their donations on Dec. 17, just before the 2022 holiday season, at a church in Bed-Stuy. Altogether they went to eight family shelters across Brooklyn.
Ora Goodwin, executive director of the Goodwin Sunshine Foundation, is based at a community garden in East New York. She’s been with the community garden for the last 15 years. She said they created the foundation because they didn’t qualify for certain grants. Goodwin’s foundation runs programs and workkshops for the community, holds turkey giveaways at Thanksgiving, and has a regular free farmer’s grocery giveaway.
“Our area has a large amount of children in the foster care system and the shelter system. We want to make sure that if we’re able to get funding, we can help them as far as clothes, food and free programs,” said Goodwin about her district.
Goodwin held the foundation’s giveaway at their community garden at an event that included caroling, performances and arts. She said the foundation was able to serve more than 300 families. In addition to the pajamas and books, Goodwin gave out bags of food, toys and toiletries for children to take home.
“The very first thing you’d hear them say is, ‘Wow, we got pajamas!’ The pajamas that were donated were very warm. I’m happy [about] whoever picked them out,” said Goodwin. “Some got matching family pajamas, so you know they were able to do the Christmas family pictures with their brother or sister or cousin.”
The Brooklyn Book Bodega (BBB) provides access to and ownership of books in communities and helped more than 37,000 families start home libraries in 2022. Cecilia Golombek, program and volunteer coordinator at BBB, said that offering books and pajamas at the same time adds to the comfort of bedtime reading, giving children a chance to connect with their families.
“‘Books and Pajamas’ offers children the opportunity to build their own home library with books that they selected because it was a reflection of themselves or a window into another experience that interested them,” said Golombek.
Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about politics for the Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting https://bit.ly/amnews1.