Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Power of a Deed

It is not difficult to find need in the world.  It is right at our back doorstep and spans the world.  One finds it in urban slums and in some of the most beautiful settings in the world.  Four miles from where I live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan lies the poorest congressional district in the nation.  As the pajamas flow into Bennison Gives, sometimes I am struck with anxiety about how I can continue to give, but need presents itself at home and abroad, both a sad commentary on inequality in the world and an opportunity to make a small difference.

In many moments I question our giving - wouldn't it be better to give medicine, or aren't there bigger problems to tackle?  I keep coming back to the idea that whatever it is, it is better to do something.  We can all make a difference, and even the smallest gesture has bigger implications.  Not just cozy jammies for a good night's sleep but the love, caring and compassion that go with it.

I am so grateful to witness each week acts of kindness from women all over the country who spend their time and energy and love collecting and cleaning and folding and sending us pajamas for children in need.  When I open the packages and read the notes I feel the love, and I have seen children and families light up when receiving pajamas.  So many of the beautiful photos we have illustrate this joy and gratitude.  So my motto is: do SOMETHING.  Any act of kindness matters, and the intention behind these actions is felt and is as real as any tangible action.

This all reminds me of an article I read in the New York Times last summer by Shmully Hecht called "The Power of a Deed."  The piece is about Rabbi Scheerson, "who reminded us that every person and every good deed is important.  He embodied the concept that Judaism was summed up in a single act of unconditional kindness and pioneered a global movement based on this ideal."  I loved the article so much I look a picture:

A single act of unconditional kindness.  Every good deed is important.  Do SOMETHING.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

More Giving: Hope for Bangladesh

I am so excited to announce or latest giving partner Hope for the Women and Children of Bangladesh www.hopeforbangladesh.org.

This amazing organization was started by Dr. Iftikher Mahmood, a doctor from Bangladesh who for the last 20 years has been building clinics and hospitals in his native country where there is so much need.  We are thrilled to be sending pajamas to children in Bangladesh in December.

I learned so much in my conversation with Ashley Pugh from HOPE about the challenges facing women and children in Bangladesh.  One of the problems that HOPE tackles is the prevalent issue of obstetric fistula from which many women suffer.  I learned that the average marriage age in Bangladesh is 18 or 19, but in the rural areas Hope serves, they estimate that the age is closer to 15 years old.  Several factors lead to the prevalence of fistula - a severe tearing or hole between the rectum or bladder and the vagina due to prolonged labor, sometimes up to 7 days.

1)  The young age of the women/children getting married means that they are small in stature, and this makes labor difficult
2)  Most women (up to 90%) deliver at home under the supervision of unskilled family and friends
3) In places like Bangladesh with high rates of malnutrition, the birth canal is weaker just as any muscle weakens without proper nutrition

I was struck in my conversation with Ashley, as I have been in other instances, with the powerful role that malnutrition and cultural norms (such as early marriage and home births), play in creating such enormous challenges for young women.  Many of these factors also contribute to infant mortality, especially traditions of birthing outside of clinical settings, even when they are available.

HOPE is doing amazing work in repairing fistulas and in providing pre-natal care and safe births.  They are embarking on a program to incentivize women to come to the clinic for care.  This reminded me so much of the "baby bundles" we have seen in other places - see my previous post on this in Sierre Leone and even in Finland.  Offering incentives to women - a package of supplies for newborns, including infant pajamas, has far more benefits than simply the gift itself.  Knowing they will receive a gift of much needed supplies for their babies motivates women to get to a clinic to deliver, a fact that can have enormous benefits, even life saving benefits, for mother and baby.

Please check out Hope for the Women and Children of Bangladesh on their website

www.hopeforbangladesh.com, and see photos on their Facebook page.

This is one of the beautiful young fistula patients Hope healed, I love seeing this beautiful smile and can't wait to see your pajama donations on these precious children in Bangladesh.

We are selling on Amazon!

We are excited to have the opportunity to sell our beautiful, 100% Pima cotton sleepwear on Amazon!  

Check it out - great promotions in time for the holidays.  And your purchases help to fund our giving to children around the world.

You BUY, We GIVE.  Together we can make a world of difference!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Our newest giving partner Children of Bellevue

I was so happy when I connected with a wonderful organization here in New York City called Children of Bellevue.  This organization is an auxiliary of Bellevue Hospital, one of the largest public hospitals here in New York City.  They were so happy to receive hundreds of pajamas to give to pediatric patients who come into the hospital each day.  Bellevue also has one of the largest psychiatric wards for pediatric patients in the city, and so many children stay for extended periods of time in the psychiatric unit that I was amazed to hear that the New York Department of Education operates a school on hospital grounds for those children.  It was quite something to see the extensive the services Bellevue offers, and I was inspired and impressed by the team at the Children of Bellevue.  I met the head of social work for the hospital as well as a young woman who runs the Room to Read program at Bellevue.   They gave out 14,000 new books last year to children in need, quite an amazing feat.

As I read more about the Children of Bellevue I was touched to learn that the organization started in 1949 with a small group of women and a washing machine and the idea that children should have a nice pair of pajamas to wear in the hospital.  The motto to this day is that children need "more than medicine" to thrive, and warm, nice pajamas were a part of this idea.  All these years later, when I called Bellevue to see if they would take our donations, I had no idea that I was following in a tradition of women working to help sick children through simple acts like providing pajamas.

The Children of Bellevue still operates on the motto that children need more than medicine to heal and thrive, and they support children and families in all sorts of ways in this pursuit.  I feel lucky to have met and witnessed a wonderful group of people dedicating their lives to improving the lives of others, and I can't wait to see some of our jammies on children in need right here in NYC.

To see more of the work of the Children of Bellevue, check out their site www. childrenofbellevue.com.

Here I am with the amazing team and just some of the hundreds of pjs we gave thanks to all of you!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Article about our Giving Partner Mano a Mano in the Nobel Peace Prize Forum

I was excited to see this wonderful article about our giving partner Mano a Mano International.   This Minneapolis based organization, founded by a Bolivian man and his wife, is a true example of making change from the bottom up.  Mano a Mano has been collecting medical supplies to send to Bolivia, a country with some of the highest rural poverty rates in the world, for over 20 years.  In addition to medical supplies, Mano a Mano works with local communities to build health clinics and to help those who are most vulnerable living in remote areas.

I have been so impressed with the work Mano a Mano does in part because as a historian I have studied and taught about colonialism, and colonial histories teach us the dangers of attempts to impose change from the top down without the agency, consent, and collaboration of those being "helped."  At Bennison Gives we work with many grassroots development and health organizations that are integrally involved in local communities in some of the poorest regions of the world.  Mano a Mano is a terrific example of an organization doing tremendous good not only in providing medical services but also in empowering and engaging local communities in this change for good.  It is only in working together in partnerships with local communities, in the universal language of respect, love, and hope, that effective change transpires.

Please read this wonderful article about Mano a Mano in the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, and please see our website and Facebook pages to learn more about the life changing work they are doing in Bolivia.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Story from the field from our newest giving partner Compassion CBO

We are proud to welcome our newest giving partner Compassion CBO.  Many of our giving partners work with rural populations, Compassion works in Metropolitan Nairobi and parts of Kenya.  I was not aware of the extreme poverty and disease in the slums of Nairobi, and I have been glad to be able to talk to Evanson Njeru, founder of Compassion CBO who has dedicated his life to helping people in these settings.  

See below email I received from Evanson and the link to the story of Joy, just one example of many children.  This story comes to us from Compassion CBO's partner Safe World For Women, also doing wonderful work in places of great need around the world. 

From Evanson: 

Welcome Sarah  a girl like this needs a Pajama and several others she is now 9 years. I have already notified Karen and Marty you will soon get in touch with them. For the last 9 years i have been working with the children in Githogoro slum in Nairobi.

Warmest regards,


We are working with some members of the Compassion CBO U.S. team to send pajamas to children like Joy early next year.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Updates on maternal heath from Chad and Sierre Leone

In two of the most vulnerable regions of the world for maternal and infant health, Angela Gorman  of Life for African Mothers (www.lifeforafricanmothers.com) sends this update on her life saving work. In this email she refers to a BBC documentary her organization was involved with.  See about it here:


Angela also writes about the addition of Misoprostol to the essential drug list in Sierre Leone.  This drug has been called a "miracle drug" as it prevents hemorrhaging after birth, the leading cause of maternal mortality in developing countries.  Angela and her team raise money to send drugs like Misoprostol to clinics and hospitals in high needs settings, and with the addition of this drug to the essentials like they will more easily be able to save lives with the availability of this drug.

I love receiving updates like this one from the field, and I am learning along with you about the challenges facing women and children in these regions and the solutions (some simple) that can be done to save lives.  Thank you Angela and Life For African Mothers.  Please check out their website, see where they work and what they are doing, and see their link on our Facebook page!

Hi Sarah,

We have received two pieces of amazing news from two of our countries...

I had a conversation with Dr Grace Kodindo over Skype last week from Chad, the 9th anniversary of seeing the PANORAMA programme...

Things have certainly changed in Chad...all down to the PANORAMA programme, with a new maternity hospital and as Grace put it, "There is a new conscience." The President's heart has been melted and also his wife, so much so that they have enabled all pregnant women free healthcare throughout their pregnancies, including normal deliveries/C Sections, medications...absolutely everything. Things seem to have improved significantly. Grace is working at the Ministry of Health and also teaching at the university, particularly new doctors whom she teaches to "have vision." Grace tested the system recently as her niece was due to give birth, so Grace took her into the hospital where nobody knew her. Her niece was not asked for any money and all went well.  

The next piece of news is that I received a text from Dr Samuel Kargbo in the Ministry of Health in Sierra Leone. They have now added Misoprostol to the Essential Drug list! It's incredible because when I first went in January 2009, they didn't even have a protocol of any kind for its administration so we couldn't send any. In October 2009 they had one so we started sending it...the feedback situation wasn't great so we focused on specific hospitals. Now, Misoprostol is on the Essential List, which is amazing. I just had a phone call from the Programme Planner for Reproductive Health in Sierra Leone who has given us assurances regarding the feedback...this is her area of focus and I have introduced the Ministry team to IHP, the organisation which is donating this miracle drug to us. 

Thank you again for your support and very best wishes,

Monday, July 14, 2014

Baby Bundles

I'm finally sitting down on a quiet morning to put some thoughts down.  There is so much to recount as we have expanded our selling and our giving.  It has been such a privilege to witness so many acts of generosity and to see the joy on children and parent's faces when they receive pajamas.  I think a lot about how we can give more over time - many of the children we serve has so many needs that it is hard to know where to begin.  But I go back to the ancient Greek idea that any act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.  It also amazes me how important pajamas are - not only for sick children but also in their emotional resonance.  The act of putting on pajamas before bed recalls for many a sense of safety, warmth, love, and the ability to be vulnerable in letting one's body rest.  It is the universality of these feelings that I have seen resonate with so many in this pajama movement.

Angela Gorman, founder of an amazing organization and one of our giving partners Life For African Mothers (www.lifeforafricanmothers.org), told me of her work in providing life saving medication for pregnant and delivering mothers in Sub Saharan Africa.  She and her organization also give "baby bundles" to women in clinical settings in some of the poorest regions of Africa.  Angela told me the story of a young mother who rushed to get to the hospital to deliver her baby rather than deliver at home.  This mother was so determined to receive her baby bundle with essentials for newborns that she made it just to the front steps of the hospital where she delivered.

This story struck me because it illustrates how something as simple as a gift of essentials to a young mother, including pajamas and diapers, is not just about receiving the items, it is about educating young mothers about newborn health and, importantly, it encourages women to deliver in safer clinical settings despite traditions that encourage home births.  By offering a baby bundle, Angela and her team have increased the numbers of women delivering in hospitals and have reduced maternal mortality.  Life for African Mothers is also providing life saving medications, particularly medications that help to stop hemorrhaging after birth, one of the leading causes of maternal death.

I had just been thinking about Angela's story and how we could contribute to baby bundles in some of these hospitals when I received an email from Margo Harrison, a New York based obgyn who has worked at Village Health Works in Burundi, East Africa.  Margo sent me this article about the "baby boxes" that everyone who gives birth in Finland has received since the 1930s.


Women in Finland, no matter their background, also receive essentials for their babies when leaving hospitals.  The idea behind this is as much about education and supplies as it is about the ideology in Finland that every child starts out on equal footing, everyone has an equal chance, and everyone is equally as valued.  Margot suggested we should think about how to provide baby bundles to women at the Women's Health Pavilion that we have been working to build at Village Health Works in Burundi for safe deliveries.

In each of these cases, footed pajamas are an essential part of the baby bundle or box, as they insulate and help to regulate newborn temperature.  In Sub Saharan Africa or Finland or here at home, think about this the next time you "bundle" the child in your life whether it be in jammies or blankie or beach towel.  As my friend Katherine says, "these jammies look like love."  And yes, indeed, they feel like love too.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Giving in DR Congo and the Central African Republic

Our giving continues at rapid speed!  We are proud to announce two more giving partners, Channel Initiative (www.channeliniative.org) and the Footprints Foundation (www.footprints-foundation.org).

What I like about both of these organizations is that they were each started by women who saw a need and with a sense of determination and hope seek to make change in the world.  More specifically, these women are working to save the lives of women and children in some of the most difficult environments where maternal and child mortality rates are high.

Channel Initiative provides life saving medical care and supplies in rural areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo, currently ranked as one of the world's worst places to be a mother.  In places like the DRCongo, being pregnancy can be a death sentence, and many children die before the age of 5.  We are especially proud that Channel is working to have an impact on the thousands of refugees in camps in the Central African Republic (CAR).  The situation in these camps is dire, and we are hoping to send some of our pajamas with the team from Channel Initiative later this summer.  We are also working to send pajama patterns along with our pajamas so that women on the ground in rural DRCongo and CAR can learn to sew their own pajamas for their children, a way of perpetuating the cycles of giving.

Footprints Foundation is impressive in the ways that they work in local communities to train midwives and community health workers to participate in caring for needs in their communities.  By training and offering supplies on the ground, communities can be empowered to make changes and save lives.  Footprints works in DRCongo, Samaliland (part of Somalia that gained independence in 1991) and Jamaica.

We are grateful to these giving partners and hope to make a small difference with our pajamas.   Please check out these organizations on line and on Facebook to see the amazing work they are doing!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Our newest Giving Partner Africa Health New Horizons

We are proud to announce our newest giving partner Africa Health New Horizons.  This wonderful organization, founded by a doctor from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dr. Kigabo Mbazumutima, serves the Great Lakes region of East Africa.  Through a partnership with Arizona State University, Dr. Mbazumutima and his team serve Burundi, Rwanda, and The Democratic Republic of the Congo.  They work to save lives in this region of very high rates of malnutrition and maternal and infant death.  Our pajamas are going to a hospital in the Southern Region of Rwanda called the Munini District Hospital.

Please see the amazing work this organization is doing from the ground up:
www.africahealthnewhorizons.org or visit them on Facebook.

This is yet another example of people working, with determination and compassion, to make the world a better place.

We look forward to seeing our donated pajamas on children in Southern Rwanda!

The Great Lakes

On the last day of our time in Burundi in February 2013, my dad and I had an opportunity to speak to a large group of people at the Village Health Works Clinic.  We heard stories from people of the hardships they faced, particularly with sick children.  One man stood up and told us about his child's epilepsy and how difficult and scary it had been before coming to the clinic to receive a diagnosis and treatment.  People were in tears as they recounted their stories.

My dad and I had an opportunity to speak.  My dad, a priest by training and an eloquent speaker, started by talking about our family.  We trace our history to the Great Lakes region of the United States, from the midwest where my family immigrated generations ago.  We still spend our summers on the banks of Lake Michigan.

In Burundi, not far from where we were, stood the banks of the Great Lakes region of Africa where one of the deepest lakes in the world, Lake Tanganyika, boarders Burundi, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  From Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, one sees the mountains of the Democratic Republic of the Congo across the lake, and the sight is breathtaking.  The serenity and beauty of this place is reminiscent of the Great Lakes we know, but bordered by extreme poverty and the tragedy of war and violence.

My dad spoke to the people about our journey from the banks of our Great Lake region to theirs and our connection to each other across time and space.  The sense of the universality of the human experience felt so raw in those moments as I imagined myself as a parent of a child who was sick and whom I could not help.  Permeating the conversation was the realization that, perhaps more than anything, the sense of feeling forgotten or alone is one that holds its own sense of grief.  The fact that we were there, and the acknowledgment of existence and suffering seemed to offer a sense of relief and solace.

Here are some pictures of these moments:

I am remembering this experience now as we prepare pajamas to give to our newest giving partner African Health New Horizons, serving the Great Lakes region of Africa.  More on their work in the next post.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Small Acts Make a Big Difference

I have been thinking a lot about need and the overwhelming feeling one can get when faced with the tremendous numbers of people in the world who suffer.  I have had several very interesting conversations with people who have posed questions like:  why would you help people so far away when there is need right here?  Or, does it really make sense to do something small when ultimately it might not make a big difference?  How do we make systemic change to really transform communities in the developing world?

I am by no means an expert on any of these subjects, but I keep coming back to the ideas that people like Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health (www.PIH.org) and Deogratias Niyizonkiza, founder of Village Health Works (www.villagehealthworks.org)
have talked about and acted on and the ways that they have made change in the lives of the many people in rural, poor communities.  I keep coming back to the idea of institutionalizing change as a way of understanding how addressing one need, even a small need, in places of suffering, can have a ripple affect in creating change.  Giving, helping, and positive growth are contagious, and in the cases of Paul and Deo, their clinics have institutionalized change in many ways, not only leading to increased health, to saving lives, but also to efforts toward education, community development, business development and agriculture.

For example, what started as a small clinic in rural Burundi, one of the poorest countries in the world with extremely high rates of malnutrition, maternal and infant mortality, and recovering from a civil war that killed thousands, has developed into a place of healing in many ways:  with early childhood programs, mental health programs, agricultural and small business initiatives.  This small clinic now affects the lives of the over 200,000 people living in the area.  See www.villagehealthworks.org to see more about this.

The lesson that small acts can make a big difference, and that small changes can have big implications in the long run, is one that I believe in and is at the heart of our pajama movement.  Yes, in some cases pajamas for sick newborns can have life saving benefits to the treatable issue of temperature regulation that takes the lives of thousands of babies each year.  But beyond that pajamas are one step in creating awareness of the challenges faced by mothers and children in developing countries, they offer comfort to those who receive them who know that they are not alone:  that someone else in a distant place cares about them, and they connect, metaphorically, emotionally, and physically, mothers to mothers and children to children around the world.

When you put your baby to bed tonight or you remember that feeling when your babies were small, I hope your thoughts turn to imaging the lives of those children near and far who don't have pajamas.  Are we changing the world with pajamas?  Maybe not.  But you never know what the ripple affects of these simple acts can bring.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Article on poverty and malnutrition in Burundi - a must read

My dear friend Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson (AKA Seattle Mama Doc - check out the amazing work she is doing at seattlemamadoc.seattlechildrens.org) sent me this very informative article about Burundi written by people at the Gates Foundation.  Read it - you will get a better sense of the dire needs in Burundi and the kinds of challenges people there face.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Our newest giving partner World Health Equity

I am thrilled to announce our newest giving partner World Health Equity!

World Health Equity (WHE) was started by a young and clearly very talented woman Jennifer Kamara, to work with local communities in northern Sierre Leone to start a pilot health clinic.  In this region, where about 200,000 people live, there is only one doctor who works in the closest town, two miles away from the site where the clinic will be built.

What impresses me about this organization is its grassroots, change from the bottom up, approach.  Rather than imposing change from the outside, WHE, under the leadership of Jennifer who is a native of Sierre Leone, is working with local community members to make change through building health systems.  We have so many examples of the effectiveness of involving local communities in making change and the importance of embowering local populations to be change agents.

WHE is working to solve some of the issues we are especially concerned about relating to women and children.  In this area with high rates of malnutrition, pregnancy, childbirth, and infancy are particularly challenging.  Sadly half of the children in the region do not live to see their 5th birthdays, and instances of maternal mortality are high.

We hope that our pajamas make a difference in the lives of the people in this area of great need, and we look forward to seeing your donations on these beautiful children.

Please visit www.worldhealthequity to learn more about the amazing work WHE is doing!!
You can also see their work on Facebook and Twitter!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pajamas to Rural Nepal

This stunning young mother and her beautiful newborn received a pair of our donated pajamas.  I was so happy to receive this photo.  This mother was photographed at Bayalpata Hospital in the far western Achham District of Nepal and safely delivered her baby thanks to the team at Nyaya Health (also known as Possible Health www.possiblehealth.org) and the Nepal Ministry of Health and Population.  Possible Health is working with the government of Nepal to create effective health care systems in Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world.  

Thank you Possible Health for bringing our jammies to rural Nepal!! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Where Children Around the World Sleep

This piece captured my attention, and I just ordered the book.  This author takes photographs of children and their bedrooms around the world.  The bedroom is such an intimate space and reveals so much about one's way of life.  In these photos we see children in some of the places where we give pajamas:  Nepal, Bolivia, and Africa.  This gives some idea about how something simple and small (like warm pajamas to sleep in), can make a difference in the life of another child.

Please take a look; it will give you a greater understanding of some of the children we are serving and the kinds of extreme poverty in the world:


Monday, March 31, 2014

Article about BENNISON in Examiner.com!

I am grateful to Suzanne Chun for her interest in our work and her lovely article on our company, BENNISON, and our work in donating pajamas around the world.

Check it out here!


Friday, March 14, 2014

Giving in Nepal - Nyaya Health

Yesterday we brought 30 pairs of warm, footed pajamas to the New York office of Nyaya Health www.nyayahealth.org.  This organization provides medical care for rural populations in Nepal.  Started by doctors from Yale University, Nyaya is a partner of Partners in Health, one of the leading organizations in creating health systems in developing countries.

I love the way that Nyaya describes its values, starting with the word Nyaya (‘knee-eye-uh’) which means “the realization of just systems” in Nepali. 

As they say on their site: "We chose that [Nyaya] because we aren’t the type of people to sit around and talk about justice. The word implies action, and we are all about realizing the right to health by delivering transparent, data-driven health care for Nepal’s rural poor.
Our cultural DNA is really important to us. And it’s best described by imagining what would happen if you collided the care and concern of a global health doctor with the insatiable drive towards efficiency and scale of a technology entrepreneur.
I also love how they describe the values of their organization, starting with putting patients first "not our own egos - the dignity and opportunity of our patients is far more important." 
This kind of selfless action for justice and the rights of health care for all are at the heart of this organization.  I can't wait to see photos of children in this region in your donated pajamas. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Our newest giving partner, Mano a Mano

As our pajama donations continue to come in (we received 120 pairs of new and gently worn pajamas last week alone), we continue to expand our giving partners. I am especially excited to announce our newest partner, Mano a Mano. Founded by Joan and Segundo Valesquez, Mano a Mano serves impoverished rural areas of Bolivia. The Valesquez's began collecting medical supplies to send to Bolivia in the early 1990's, and what started as collecting grew to a highly successful non for profit offering medical care and education to people living in remote rural areas of Bolivia. I was surprised to learn that Bolivia is the most impoverished country in the world with 94% of its population living below subsistence levels. This type of extreme poverty is especially hard on women and children, and in the rural province where most of Mano a Mano's clinics are maternal and infant mortality rates are very high: 3 in 10 children in this area do not live to see their first birthday. Our of 100,000 live births, 650 children will loose their lives. This is the highest mortality rate in all of Latin America. Much of Bolivia is mountainous with extreme temperatures. There is great need in Bolivia for aid, especially when it comes to the challenges faced by women and children, and we are thrilled to be able to contribute in a small way. The sales of our garments help to fund the collection and transportation of our donated pajamas, and we look forward to seeing our pajamas on some Bolivian babies! Check out all of the amazing work that Mano a Mano is doing: www.manoamano.org

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Photo shoot

Have you ever been to a photo shoot for clothes? Now I can say I have! Thanks to the amazing photographer Christine Gatti and the wonderful Michelle Elzay, founder of Sparrow Design who donated use of her studio space, we had a fabulous photo shoot. I can't wait to post photos of our beautiful garments, hand made by mothers and grandmothers in Lima, Peru, of 100% Pima cotton. These make the perfect baby gift! You can purchase a "Bennison" on our website (still in progress, but it works) www.bennisongives.com. These purchases enable us to continue our pajama collecting, distributing, and, over time, will help fund specific projects in maternal and children's health in some places that need it the most.

Giving Partners

We continue to expand our sites where we give pajamas - we now give the the following places: Village Health Works, where we started. It was through my interactions with the doctors at this rural clinic, in one of the poorest countries in the world, that I learned about the life saving benefits of footed pajamas. We have been sending pajamas there for several years and are happy to be able to continue that! www.villagehealthworks.org Sacred Valley Health. This organization serves communities in the Cusco region of rural Peru. Many of these villages are without road access for at least part of the year which makes medical care very difficult. There are also high rates of malnutrition among children in this region - close to 35%. Sacred Valley Health trains community health workers (community members) to identity, treat, and refer patients. We are grateful to the teams of nurses that go from the Unites States to this region with Sacred Valley Health for bringing our pajamas to the children there. www.sacredvalleyhealth.org Bridge Haven Transitional Home. This is a homeless shelter in the Bronx, New York, just 5 miles from my house in Manhattan, New York. This area of the Bronx is the poorest congressional district in the entire country. While children at this shelter are not at risk of dying from malnutrition like we see in other places, the needs are great, with most of the people in this area, and at Bridge Haven, living below the poverty line. Bridge Haven is part of the Samaritan Village social service agencies and offers housing and counseling for struggling families. www.samaritanvillage.org Please like us on Facebook to follow our work and our expanding partnerships! www.facebook/bennisongives.com

Spirit of Giving

I have been touched to receive emails from all over the country, from California to Maine to South Carolina, from women wanting to collect pajamas to help children in need. We have an organization of 5,000 employees collecting, and a French class in New Jersey collecting, and a women's support group for mothers of children struggling with addiction collecting. In the emails I have received I have seen so clearly the innate desire to help others and a generosity of spirit that is heart warming. One woman, whose letter was especially touching, explained how she has dealt with worry about her own child by serving other children, asking if she could help with this project. She reminded me of the wonderful quote by Mother Teresa which brought tears to my eyes: "Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love." I guess that's really the point of much of this, that through small, love filled actions we can make a difference in someone else's life.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Redbook Magazine March Issue!

So much to catch up on, and I'm afraid I have not had a minute to sit down to write. We have the privilege of being in Redbook Magazine this month which has been so wonderful. The sort article about us has generated so much enthusiasm among women all over the country, and I have received so many touching emails from Maine and California and South Carolina and Texas, etc....such an illustration of how eager people are to make a difference and to give back. I can't wait to see pajama drives come to fruition and to see photos of women all over coming together to make a difference in another child's life. Check us out in Redbook, and see our website www.bennisongives.com to purchase and to donate! Trying to post photos but having trouble...