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The Pajama Project makes sure folks will be warm and cozy this Christmas

| Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
The Pajama Project co-organizers (from left) Connie Charlton and Nancy Wirick  organize and sort new donated pajamas at the Kiski Valley Salvation Army Vandergrift location as Salvation Army manager/case worker Mary Ann Domiano assists. More than 500 Alle-Kiski Valley families will receive new holiday pajamas in December.
Joyce Hanz
The Pajama Project co-organizers (from left) Connie Charlton and Nancy Wirick organize and sort new donated pajamas at the Kiski Valley Salvation Army Vandergrift location as Salvation Army manager/case worker Mary Ann Domiano assists. More than 500 Alle-Kiski Valley families will receive new holiday pajamas in December.
New pajamas are readied for distribution on Dec. 20, 2017, at the Kiski Valley Salvation Army location on Longfellow St. in Vandergrift
Joyce Hanz
New pajamas are readied for distribution on Dec. 20, 2017, at the Kiski Valley Salvation Army location on Longfellow St. in Vandergrift

Snagging a new pair of cozy pajamas for Christmas morning just got easier for some families in need.

The Pajama Project helps to provide new pajamas to under-served children throughout the Alle-Kiski region.

The charity has three main volunteers and has donated more than 3,500 new pajamas. Mary Ann Fello of Leechburg began the outreach nine years ago, and since then co-organizers Nancy Wirick of Gilpin and Connie Charlton of Parks Township have assumed volunteer duties when Fello was unable to continue.

With drop-off donations located throughout Vandergrift and Leechburg, The Pajama Project welcomes new pajamas in sizes from newborn to teens to adult sizes up to XXL.

“We have teens that can wear adult clothing,” Wirick says. “There is a need for more boys pajamas too.”

Donations will be accepted until Dec. 15.

“(The recipients) seem to be very pleased, and I think after nine years of this program, it is a tradition and we see a lot of return families,” Wirick says.

Distribution day is scheduled for Dec. 20 at the Kiski Valley Salvation Army center on Longfellow Street in Vandergrift.

Approved families will visit the Salvation Army distribution center in Vandergrift, receive other holiday items and shop in the PJ room — just in time for Christmas, organizers say.

Wirick says they work with each family, trying to match the right pair of pajamas with each child's interest/theme or favorite color choice.

“I have a soft spot for kids,” Wirick says.

Wirick and Charlton teamed up this fall, collecting, organizing, sorting and preparing for distribution day and this year if there are leftover PJs, they plan to donate them locally within the Alle-Kiski Valley area.

The areas served include Leechburg, Hyde Park, East Vandergrift, Apollo, Vandergrift and Spring Church, says Salvation Army manager/caseworker Mary Ann Domiano.

“We see all types of financial situations from the young and elderly,” Domiano says. Those requesting pajamas for their children must call the Salvation Army and provide proof of income and fill out an application.

Domiano notes that grandparents may not come in with a list of grandchildren's names, the parent or guardian must fill out the necessary paperwork.

Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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