Rockland County Youth Bureau’s AmeriCorps Program is seeking donations for Project Night Night, a community service program to donate 80 care packages filled with childhood essentials. Each package goes to a homeless child and contains a new security blanket, an age-appropriate children's book, and a stuffed animal tucked into a new canvas tote bag.
Rockland Family Shelter and the Rockland County Department of Social Services foster families with children 11 years old and younger will be the recipients.
To participate and fill one or more of the tote bags, contact Kim Andrews at the Youth Bureau at 845-638-5166. Newly purchased items are requested and can be dropped off at the Youth Bureau at 18 New Hempstead Road in New City. Donations must be received by Wednesday, Jan. 18. Project Night Night estimates it cost $20 to underwrite the complete cost of a package.
“We are proud to be taking part in this community service project for
children who are less fortunate,” said Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef. “Those who wish to participate can help by filling one or more tote bags for a needy child. What a great way to honor the memory of a prominent leader such as Martin Luther King, Jr.”
The program was developed as part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service and nationally provides more than 25,000 packages free of charge, to in need of childhood essentials. Project Night Night helps to reduce trauma and advances the emotional and cognitive well being of the children served. Each child
who receives one of the packages benefits from owning a book, which encourages reading and family bonding, a security blanket, which can be cuddled, and a stuffed animal, which can become a cherished friend.
From the Project Night Night web site:
- There are approximately 298,000 homeless families in the United States.
- Currently, there are more homeless children in the U.S. than at any other time since the Great Depression.
- Nonetheless, family homelessness often goes unseen as most homeless families do not live on the street.
- Instead, most homeless families are transient, living in shelters, in cars, in hotels in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, or staying with friends or family members.
These environmental stresses negatively influence a child’s early experiences and often lead to an increase in mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, poor sleep habits, and behavioral issues.