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PJs 4 Xmas hopes to expand next year

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OGDENSBURG – Since it was founded in 2009, the goal of PJs 4 Xmas has stayed the same: to make sure all needy children in St. Lawrence County wake up with a new pair of pajamas on Christmas morning.

This year, PJs 4 Xmas founders Abigail L. and Camille E. Marshall have turned the organization certified non-profit organization, obtained its own delivery truck and delivered 1,761 pajamas to children around St. Lawrence County.

Using a converted FedEx delivery truck they purchased for $1,000, the girls delivered pajamas to several community organizations, including the Canton Neighborhood Center, A to Z Christmas Program, Renewal House, Canton; Heuvelton Giving Tree and The Salvation Army, Ogdensburg.

“A lot goes to Canton, since they are the county hub, and they can spread them out to other places,” the girls’ mother Melissa L. Carroll-Durham said.

The girls also made sure every child in the St. Lawrence County Foster program got a pair, and delivered pairs to all the Head Start programs in St. Lawrence County.

Abigail, 13, said her favorite part about gathering pajamas is cutting off the tags and individually stamping the pajamas for each girl or boy who will receive them.

“I think everything went well, and everyone was happy when they opened their pajamas,” Abigail said.

While the group was about 200 shy of reaching their goal of 2,000 pairs this year, the sisters said they couldn’t be happier with the amount of pajamas they collected.

“Even though I think as successful how it was planned this year. We didn’t get as much helpers a lot more support from a lot of people, and I do think it’s going to help us for next year,” Camille, 16, said.

Because of their efforts, the girls are getting recognition and support from all over the county. Several groups, including the Girl Scout troops, volunteered help tag pajamas.

“People are starting to recognizes us in other townships like Massena and Potsdam and really help us fill those orders for pajamas,” Ms. Carroll-Durham said.

The girls said they received $7,405 dollars in donations, more than ever before, which will be used to purchase pajamas and supplies for next year. The organization spends $4,000 to travel the county to drop boxes, post fliers, gas and requires a lot of fundraising, Ms. Carroll-Durham said.

With their new non-profit status, the girls hope to find sponosrs and help children outside the county next year.

“They always say the first five years are the hardest, and they weren’t kidding,” Ms. Carroll-Durham said. “But people in the county are starting to know what we do and that is going to make a big difference for next year.”

Since 2009, the girls have helped clothed close to 4,000 children in the county.

“I have to pinch myself to believe they are my kids,” Ms. Carroll-Durham said.

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