Rancho San Diego Elementary donates pajamas to homeless children

0
451
WEBPJ 1.jpg

Friday, Dec. 15, was no ordinary Pajama Day at the Rancho San Diego Elementary School. Few fifth graders and their leading teachers were gathering over 230 new pajamas to box them up and donate them to the homeless children temporarily housed by the Interfaith Shelter Program. Two teachers, Karen Plunk and Amanda Flickinger, had the idea to engage the students in the Pajama Project, guide them to run it and also write a skit about the whole campaign.  

Friday, Dec. 15, was no ordinary Pajama Day at the Rancho San Diego Elementary School. Few fifth graders and their leading teachers were gathering over 230 new pajamas to box them up and donate them to the homeless children temporarily housed by the Interfaith Shelter Program. Two teachers, Karen Plunk and Amanda Flickinger, had the idea to engage the students in the Pajama Project, guide them to run it and also write a skit about the whole campaign.  

Colton Pidgeon, 5th grade, says his goal was to “make the homeless children feel good, make them feel like somebody cares about them.” This is the first edition of this unique project, but teachers and students alike plan to make it a yearly tradition. “We went around the classrooms and let the students know we are doing this and asked them for nice and cozy pajamas to donate,” explains Pidgeon, pointing toward his classmate, Ashlein Castro who wrote a skit about the project. She joined the project because she believes “that everybody should have amazing pajamas like we do. I feel bad for the homeless children. Some of them don’t have a choice and I think we should help them.” Castro said she brainstormed the ideas for the skit with her peers and they came out with a script that tells the story of children in need of pajama and what could the students at Rancho San Diego Elementary school do to help them. 

Patt Hill, retired teacher who is still substituting for the school and runs the Character Education projects confessed, “I was impressed with all the kids doing this and the best moment was when they were streaming into my room with their arms full of pajamas and they were so proud of being able to help. This is really teaching about carrying and compassion to our school.” 

Bill Zucconi, the rotation shelter coordinator with Interfaith Shelter Network in East County, is sure the 230 pajamas donated will be enough for now to cover the needs of the children in the shelter right now. There are approximately 15-30 children in temporary shelters at one point in time, but “they would cycle out and new ones would cycle in, so I am sure we will get rid of every one of the pajamas in a relatively short period of time.” The shelters are ran by local congregations and each has specific needs, such as food and clothing items for their temporary guests. Zucconi believes the best things to donate are gift cards to local stores, so homeless people could by exactly what they need without causing storage issues. 

The school has two other service projects led by the student council: Pasta for Pennies to help children with leukemia and Support the Troops to honor the school’s military families.