PARKERSBURG - The students of Jefferson Elementary Center received an early Christmas present Friday, the gift of new pajamas.
The school's business partner Camden Clark Medical Center and Parkersburg Catholic High School collected and purchased more than 500 sets of pajamas, enough to outfit every child at the school.
"It has just been amazing," said Rosemary Scott, school nurse for Jefferson. "It was such an overwhelming response and such a wonderful thing to do for our students."
Photo by Michael Erb
First-grader Kiara Groves sits on the lap of Parkersburg High School sophomore Samantha Tingler during story time Friday at Jefferson Elementary Center.
Sherri Wheeler, Partner in Education liaison for Camden Clark, said officials gathered donated pajamas and placed donation boxes at the cafeterias at the Memorial Campus and St. Joseph's Campus.
"I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the staff and everyone who donated," Wheeler said. "We had collection boxes at both campuses, and they were overflowing every morning or afternoon."
More than $1,700 in cash was donated and used to purchase more pajamas. Parkersburg Catholic High School donated about 100 pairs of pajamas.
More than 40 teen volunteers from the hospital, representing all three Parkersburg high schools, worked Friday to hand out the pajamas, prepared "Reindeer Food" (a mix of oats and glitter) for every student to take home, and wrapped Christmas presents for families sponsored by the school.
"The kids have been thrilled," Wheeler said. "I've gotten piles of thank-you notes from their classrooms. They all look adorable. It has been a great day."
Scott said all students Friday were able to watch a special viewing of "The Polar Express," the story of a group of children traveling to the North Pole while- fittingly enough-wearing pajamas, and participate in classroom activities and book readings throughout the day.
"It's just been wonderful," she said. "Everyone has been so excited."