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Pajamas, books and blankets: Tucson woman continues charity her mom started

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Posted at 3:05 PM, Jun 10, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Pajamas, books and blankets are small gifts making a big impact in our community.

The Angel Heart Pajama Project is a local charity, and their goal is to give these bedtime gifts to as many kids as possible for free.

They make deliveries every quarter, and will be on the road the next two weeks hitting over 80 organizations in Tucson.

One of the first stops is Southern Arizona's Ronald McDonald House Charities.

“It’s such a comfort in the evening, and it helps to alleviate fears of night time," Scott Matlick said. "Especially if there’s a sickness of some sort. It’s such a special thing for our families to have.”

Then the Angels head to Casa de los Niños, an organization that has been working with Tucson kids for 50 years.

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“We have a lot of partners all throughout the community that make this possible. It’s a small and kind gift of pajamas and books, but it’s hugely impactful to our clients," Favin Gebremariam said. "When they receive anything from our donation room, it’s often the first time they’re receiving anything new.”

Maria Patterson is one of the Angel Heart Pajama Project founders. Her mom started the project over a decade ago.

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She felt she owed a debt to the U.S., as her family was allowed to stay in America when they escaped Cuba in the 1960s.

“The only way we could leave was to escape in a boat. There was 21 of us, we were packed in like sardines. And we hit a tropical storm, we didn’t think we were going to make it," Patterson said. "Then we were rescued by an American destroyer in the gulf.”

The family eventually made it to Chicago, and the first thing Maria’s mom said she was able to get her kids in the U.S. was pajamas. This inspired her to donate pajamas to kids in need.

"It makes me emotional because I know she is manipulating things from above. The agencies, they're so open, they're so grateful, and that's what I'm feeling. The gratitude surrounding that, and my mom."

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Adam Klepp is a reporter for KGUN 9. At his previous station in Yuma, Adam focused on a range of local issues including the border, water rights and healthcare. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan, and attended both Loyola University Chicago and Syracuse University. Share your story ideas and important issues with Adam by emailing adam.klepp@kgun9.com or by connecting on Twitter.