No child should feel scared — especially a child who is homeless.
Project Night Night — PNN — is a multi-award winning nonprofit organization, receiving over 11 awards since they began 12 years ago in 2005.
PNN provides care bags for homeless children between six and 12 years old with families. Each care bag contains a new stuffed animal, blanket and book. PNN has thousands of volunteers and has serviced all 50 states.
The organization was founded by Kendra Robins — a lawyer and Bay-area resident. Robins noticed her 1-year-old son was unable to sleep whenever he was away from home, such as being at a friend’s house or on vacation. Robins soon discovered that when her son had his favorite blanket, stuffed animal and “thousandth reading of Goodnight Moon,” that he slept soundly, while having familiar security tokens of home in his arms and heart.
Upon this realization, Robins determined that all children need these cornerstones to comfort them and give a feeling of security, particularly homeless children. Robins decided right then and there to dedicate her life to this new cause, positively changing the lives of homeless children nationwide.
When I first spoke to Robins about her organization, I was heartened to hear that not only are they helping children in shelters nationwide, but they are currently generating all their efforts towards helping children suffering from the two recent disastrous hurricanes, Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.
More than 500 bags were instantly sent to children in Texas, and the organization was working on sending more bags to Florida as we spoke. When I asked Robins what her future plans were for Project Night Night, she replied that they would love to expand, but that would require additional resources.
PNN receives numerous requests from the 825 social service agencies they work with across the United States, and it is invariably occupied with high frequency demands. In San Francisco alone, there are more than 100 shelters, and PNN services at least 30 of these shelters.
The organization relies on networking via word-of-mouth. Funding is not spent on marketing or outreach. The feedback from shelters has been very positive, with ongoing requests for PNN bags.
The goal of Project Night Night is for all homeless children to have the security of a new stuffed animal, book and blanket. There are between 5,000?10,000 off-site volunteers for the organization. The volunteers are managed by Jessica Bryan. Volunteers can be of any age, and are used to help make the care bags through PNN’s Adopt a Night Night Package program.
Every $20 donation is directed towards making a high quality care bag, each one containing only new items. All funding is obtained from individual and corporate donations. PNN partners with many corporations for team-building Night Night package assembly events which take place at the corporate offices.
PNN also supplies low-income schools, as well as churches. As previously mentioned, a large amount of work is done to assist children affected by natural disasters.
While speaking with a decade-long volunteer with Project Night Night, Beth McKillop, I learned why Project Night Night is such an integral part of her and her children’s lives. Beth said she likes the concept of PNN; it resonates with her, as she has two children. She appreciates the “very profound security” the cause centers around.
When asked what her most memorable part of volunteering with PNN has been, Beth recalled seeing the look on her children’s faces when they first saw other children on the street in San Francisco receiving their donation bags and witnessing what misfortune looks like on fellow children.
Recently, Beth saw a newspaper photo of bags for children in Texas during Hurricane Harvey and turned to tell her daughter, “See that, you made that bag!”
San Francisco has benefited immensely from the aid of Project Night Night, and the organization could use all the help it can get. As homelessness continues to be an issue in San Francisco, it is more imperative than ever that people become aware of organizations such as Project Night Night. The number of people on the streets of San Francisco is nearly twice the number in San Jose, and three times the number in Oakland.
San Francisco ranks second to New York in homelessness. There are 795 homeless persons for every 100,000 residents. Statistics show that the average renter in San Francisco spends 41 percent of income on an apartment, lives paycheck to paycheck, and saves nothing for an emergency. These statistics demonstrate that the homelessness problem is not going to go away anytime soon, and the homeless children will continue to need some semblance of security — when all hope seems futile.
I am grateful for Project Night Night and the positive effect this organization is having on children in San Francisco and nationwide, bringing children a little closer to a peaceful night’s sleep.
The organization can be contacted by email at Kendra@ProjectNightNight.org
, and the website is www.projectnightnight.org