Collecting PJs for All Ages in Memory of Her Daughter

Dec 20, 2017
Supplied Photo A bounty of ‘jammies’ and books for all ages fills a room in the law office. A collage of photos of Breanna O’Rourke hangs in the corner.

Chris O’Rourke has been collecting donations of new pajamas in all sizes for all ages for distribution to families in need ever since her daughter Breanna passed away seven years ago.

“She died from a rare condition when she was 16 years old, and it was a dream of hers to make a difference in the world,” said O’Rourke. “So I am doing this in her memory.” O’Rourke is a legal assistant at Bishop’s Law Office at 50 Bay Ave. in Manahawkin, where the law partners, her sister Genevieve Bishop and Lydia Mastandrea, are supportive of O’Rourke, letting her use one of the office spaces for her collection of PJs. The pile of sleepwear can reach the ceiling as Christmas approaches.

“It’s a small thing, a new pair of pajamas, but people are so grateful and appreciative. I also collect children’s books to distribute – they seem to go together.”

Word has gotten around of her pajama gifts through clients at the law office and their friends, and the collection has grown. “I get calls every day asking me, ‘Are you doing it again this year?’”

She usually distributes them to Ocean Community Church in Manahawkin and churches in Keansburg and Cherry Hill. And she collects the PJs all year ’round, not just at Christmas time.

“Breanna died on Jan. 28, 2011. She was in junior high and she never stopped making plans,” said O’Rourke.

“Giving to others has helped me get through the holidays,” said O’Rourke.  —P.J.


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