Early on, Mom Kendra Stitt Robins learned that her son couldn’t go to sleep without his favorite blanket. This made the then corporate lawyer think about families that leave home for a shelter, like in domestic violence situations where they barely make it out and don’t get to bring anything, and how something as simple as the comfort of a blanket could help ease the situation just a bit for the child. Kendra left her job and founded the San Francisco-based nonprofit, Project Night Night, which serves children ages 0-12 in shelters nationwide. With the help of 10,000 volunteers, Project Night Night has gotten Night Night Packages (a reusable canvas bag filled with a new blanket, book and toy to serve children’s environmental, educational and emotional needs) to 25,000 children. I interviewed Kendra and asked some important parent-to-nonprofit operation questions.
How Can People Help?
Because the Project Night Night staff is extremely slim and volunteer-based, the website has everything and anything you may want to know clearly laid out — Including how to donate monetarily, start a drive (with downloadable signs!), dedicate a birthday party or corporate event to the cause, or volunteer! There are so many ways to get involved, and the well organized Project Night Night website makes that easy. But I really appreciate that though staff is lean and everything is on their site, the founder of Project Night Night is a Bay Area mom who is very involved in the project and replies to emails (even about things that maybe could have been found online). I’ve reached out to other nonprofits who wouldn’t even respond except for an auto response to tell me to look at their website.
How Much of the Monetary Donation Actually Goes to the Kids?
For a lot of nonprofits, it may seem like anywhere from 60-90 percent of donation is going to the cause, but that isn’t always the case, which is exactly why I’m highlighting nonprofits that families can support without worry they’re being scammed, and the cause they claim to be aiding is being scammed, too. Project Night Night operates at low-cost, using Kendra’s home, volunteers and a storage facility for the donations to keep all costs low and most money funneled toward getting bags out to these kids. Kendra says the breakdown is 96 cents of every dollar goes directly into the program, with the rest to pay staff.
Where Does Project Night Night Operate?
Though it’s main office is in the SF Bay Area, this nonprofit is nationwide. In fact, Kendra said during her interview that if your area doesn’t have a Project Night Night nearby it’s simple to start a drive for your community! Project Night Night doesn’t want a child to miss out on this program simply because there isn’t already one running in the shelters in their area (click this map to check for coverage). Kendra added that there are over a million (and counting) children in shelters so there’s definitely a lot more work to be done.
Do you have any other questions for Kendra about Project Night Night? Post them in the comments below!
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