The annual Jammie Drive we run touches two groups of people: those who receive the gifts and those who give them.
The drive benefits residents of three East Bay Area shelters—havens for victims of domestic violence and homelessness. We provide cozy pajamas, socks and underthings, basics we take for granted, to these folks in need. We’ve run this program for four years now; it’s a big hit with local families and individuals looking to give back to their community.
Here are comments from some of our donors about why they return year after year to participate:
“This drive is an opportunity for my daughter to learn that the holiday season is an opportunity to practice what we value in the house – radical hospitality for whosoever needs it when the opportunity arises.”
“It’s becoming a cherished part of our family traditions.”
“My son collects money all year for this.”
These comments warm my heart.
I started the drive to introduce my kids to the true spirit of the holidays, and the event’s impact has spread beyond my wildest dreams. Basically, families in our community adopt families at the shelter to personalize the giving experience. Donors take their kids to shop for the families they adopt, and then bring their gifts to a fun party we host at the end of the drive. The party is for the donors and includes crafts, music, a terrific magic performance and yummy food. The kids wear their jammies.
The turnout for this year’s drive, which has just ended, has been off the charts.
Here is what we’ve amassed:
- 199 pairs of jammies
- 199 pairs of slippers
- 80 packages of underwear and socks
- 26 bras
- $1400 in financial donations for the shelter staff to supplement our donations with additional items they need for shelter residents
All the families (59 of them) were adopted. Everyone was covered with the basics they need. Whew.
I had a chance to visit the safe house, one of the facilities we support with this drive, recently.
I had to sign a confidentiality agreement to ensure I would keep the location to myself, so as to not endanger the house occupants.
As I entered the property, I was struck by the love and careful attention given to make the facility and grounds be as welcoming as possible. It felt cozy, clean and comfortable.
The Building Futures safe house shelters 20+ women and their children when they flee toxic relationships and living situations, often just with the clothes on their backs, fearful for their lives. Many babies have been born there.
Being able to visit the facility is a gift, a way for me to learn about the wonderful people we support with the Jammie Drive. We are truly collecting the items these folks need most, basics you and I don’t even think about.
What we are helping these people do is restore their dignity.
It is important work. It helps them, and it helps us, too.
At this most special time of year, especially with all the unrest and uncertainty in the world right now, this drive really resonates for people as a way to get involved, make a difference, and help the next generation develop their compassion for others.
If you would like to learn more about the drive and sign up to be on the early notification list for next year’s event, please visit our FAQ page.