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FGCU's Office of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Invites the Public to Help "Make a Difference" with Pajama and Book Drive, Oct. 23
10/14/2010

FORT MYERS, FL - Florida Gulf Coast University's Office of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement invites all Eagles and members of the Southwest Florida community to join the millions of people across the nation making a difference by participating in a campus-wide Pajama and Book Drive to benefit the Pajama Program, a national organization with a local chapter in Southwest Florida whose mission is "Providing Sleepwear, Books, and Comfort to Children in Need." Purchase NEW pajamas and/or books (infant to teen) and drop them off 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 23 at the flagpole loop in Parking Lot 5 on the FGCU campus.

Make a Difference Day, the most encompassing national day of helping others - is a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors. Created by USA Weekend Magazine, Make a Difference Day takes place annually on every fourth Saturday in October and encourages communities to participate in projects big and small (usaweekend.com).

The organization was founded by Genevieve Piturro, who 10 years ago noticed children in shelters and group homes sleeping in their clothes because they did not own one pair of pajamas. Thousands of the children served by this organization live in orphanages, group homes and shelters, and are shuffled often between temporary living facilities. Many of the children have never enjoyed the simple comfort of having a mother or father tuck them in at bedtime and read to them. "Emotionally, pajamas are a hug for children who feel lost and alone," said Piturro.

Pajama Program's Southwest Florida Chapter president, Lizzie Golumbic, states on her website (pajamaprogram.org), "It is such a good feeling to know we are helping children in need feel loved, warm and safe." Many of the children who receive the new pajamas are from The Shelter for Abused Women and Children, Youth Haven, Children's Angel Network, Immokalee Childcare Center, and Our Mother's Home - all local agencies in Lee and Collier counties.

For more information, media representatives should contact Jessica Rhea at (239) 590-7016, or Lisa Paige at (239) 590-7015.

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