Jorja Hinks, 8, helps less fortunate kids 'Sleep Tight'
Project born out of concern for friend with leukemia
A lot of less fortunate children in Newfoundland and Labrador will have cozy new pyjamas and books this Christmas thanks to the thoughtfulness of one eight-year-old girl.
Jorja Hinks created the Sleep Tight project last year after a friend was diagnosed with leukemia just before Christmas.
With all the focus on treatment and getting better, little thought was given to the things her friend might need while in hospital and away from home.
"I felt so bad," Jorja said. "Every Christmas I love to get pyjamas and books, because I like sleeping in my new pyjamas over the holidays. So I wanted to leave her with a pair of pyjamas with a book in them."
Overwhelmed by response
Jorja's mom, Tracey Langden, said that's when the light bulb went on.
"Jorja had this suggestion that maybe we could help other children in this situation," said Langden, who lives in the Goulds. "And we kind of chatted about it after and we thought, you know, she's on to something here. So we just put a project together, and never really expected to have the response that we did."
A Facebook page was created on short notice, with limited expectations.
"I kind of thought we'll put it out there and if we collect a few pairs of pyjamas, we'll just help whoever that we're able to with the number of pairs of pyjamas that we receive," said Langden.
But the response was more than they could've hoped for.
It's not just one person in the world that you can help. There's tonnes. And it makes me feel good to help them out.- Jorja Hinks, 8, of the Goulds
Jorja began receiving pyjamas and books from across the province — from St. John's to Labrador West.
"We ended up with more than 400 pairs ... we were just kind of blown away," Langden said. "There was this sea of pyjamas at our house just before (last) Christmas."
Jorja and her mom began packaging each pair with a book and a separate letter from Jorja, wrapping each gift in a bow for distribution to organizations such as Iris Kirby House, Ronald McDonald House, the Janeway and Salvation Army.
Langden admits it was a bit of a rush last year, and some kids at the Janeway were missed because families do what they can to make sure their children are at home for Christmas.
But they decided to get a jump on the project this year.
There's no deadline as such, since there's a realization that kids in tough circumstances could use new P.J.s and books any time of the year.
But there is a push to get the special packages delivered by Christmas. That means getting them into the hands of various charities about two weeks before the big day.
Lagden said they'll take all sizes — from infant to larger pyjamas for young teenagers. The only rule is they must be new, since some children have compromised immune systems.
"Jorja actually delivered pyjamas on Christmas Eve last year," Landgen said.
Anyone who wants to give to the project can log on to the Facebook page "Sleep Tight."
There's also a list of drop-off locations on the page.
"It's not just one person in the world that you can help. There's tonnes," said Jorja.
"And it makes me feel good to help them out."