Migrants with Children Receive Free Pajamas in Manhattan

By Rebecca Greenberg
June 13, 2024

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Access to basic necessities is invaluable to migrants hoping to start a new life.

“Practically all the clothes you bring are thrown away on the way here. You come with almost nothing,” said Marcia Toaquiza, who migrated from Ecuador with her daughter and arrived in Manhattan one month ago. She spoke to NY1 through a translator.

Hundreds of parents waited on line at the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Thursday to secure pajamas through the nonprofit organization Pajama Program. (Spectrum News NY1)

“The language, the trains, sometimes you really get lost, it makes me want to cry,” Toaquiza said.

She’s among hundreds of parents who waited on line at the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Thursday to secure pajamas through the nonprofit organization Pajama Program.

“My daughter was happy. She told me, ‘come on mommy, I want to take one,’” Toaquiza said.

Organizers say the distribution event will provide 26,000 pairs of new pajamas for children between the ages 6 months and 8 years old living in NYC Health + Hospitals’ ten humanitarian centers for families with children.

“We feel that every child should have something new of their very own and not just a hand-me-down,” Jamie Dyce, executive director of Pajama Program, said.

Around 120,000 people are living in homeless shelters across the five boroughs and more than half of them are migrants, according to city data. Some 25,000 migrants are living in NYC Health + Hospital-run facilities — 4,600 of which are children.

“We have children of all ages. We have families, we have dozens of languages from all over the world that we’ve served over the course of the last few years. In this building alone, we have over 800 children that are under eight years old that we’re serving through this partnership with the Pajama Program,” Chris Keely of NYC Health + Hospitals said.

The distribution event began Sunday and concludes Friday.

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