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Pyjama plea ... North Otago Youth Centre manager Amanda Acheson is calling for donations of new pyjamas to keep Oamaru children and teenagers warm this winter. PHOTO: REBECCA RYAN

Every child deserves a new pair of pyjamas, North Otago Youth Centre manager Amanda Acheson says.

Mrs Acheson and Sue Dundass, from Anglican Family Care, have launched a pyjama drive to keep Oamaru children and teenagers warm this winter.

The idea came about after Mrs Acheson and Mrs Dundass were discussing a similar initiative collecting pyjamas for foster children. It covered Otago, but missed out Oamaru.

“I sort of thought, shame that Oamaru isn’t being covered’,” Mrs Acheson said.

“Sue and I just got talking and said than just foster families need pyjamas’.”

Through their work, they saw a need in Oamaru, and decided to launch their own pyjama drive.

“Poverty is a real thing in Oamaru – it’s not just in the big cities,” she said.

If money was tight for families, they were more likely to buy clothing that was going to be seen.

“I hear of children who sleep in their clothes, because they’re not spending money on pyjamas.”

Mrs Acheson and Mrs Dundass are asking people to give pairs of new pyjamas, in any size, and have arranged four drop-off points- the North Otago Youth Centre, Anglican Family Care, St Luke’s Church and Oamaru Eyecare.

There were a lot of “really generous people” in North Otago who wanted to support their local community, Mrs Acheson said.

The pyjama drive was an opportunity to do that.

Some people had asked if they could give second-hand pyjamas, but only brand new, unused pairs were being accepted.

“I think every child deserves a new pair of pyjamas.”

Mrs Acheson and Mrs Dundass would distribute pyjamas to those in need locally, and there would also be a pile available at the North Otago Youth Centre for people to collect, no questions asked.

Protecting people’s dignity was important, she said.

“You don’t want people to have to ask and feel as though they’re begging.”

The centre also provided period products and second-hand clothing and school uniforms.