FORT WAYNE – Pajamas are not just the cost of admission, but they’re also the suggested attire for the upcoming Long Term Care Ombudsman Program’s annual Pajama Drive kickoff event. The evening of music, food and prizes marks the beginning of a drive to collect pajamas for  long term care facilities in nine different Northeast Indiana counties.

“We are excited to bring the community together for a night of camaraderie and support,” said Zanzy Lewis, executive director for the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. “The kickoff event is not just a chance for a night out, it’s a celebration of compassion and solidarity for those we serve. By wearing pj’s to the event, we symbolize the comfort and care we aim to provide for our nursing home neighbors.”

The event is planned for Thursday, March 14th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Parkview Field’s suite level lounge. The night’s entertainment will feature local artist Adam Strack. As a bonus, those attendees who wear pajamas to the event will be entered to win prizes every 30 minutes.

Admission to the kickoff event is free to those that bring pajamas to donate to the drive. However, a $20 charge can be paid in lieu of bringing a pajama donation. Those wanting to bring pajamas to contribute to the drive should plan to bring new items with the tags still on. Lewis said that all sizes are welcome for both male and female residents. However, larger sizes are needed most.

“These residents want to wear something comforting and comfortable,” she said. “The drive allows us to bring a bit of that comfort to them. We’ll collect pajamas at the kick off event and then for several weeks afterwards at various drop off locations.”

While the drop off locations are still being determined, Lewis said the kick off event is the perfect time to bring donations. The items collected can be conventional pajamas as well as sweatpants and shirts, nightgowns, and other lounge-wear items. It is preferred that both tops and bottoms are donated together, but volunteers will work to match items if needed.

“We want the community to come spend the evening with us, have some food and have some fun,” said Lewis. “There are a lot of events where you get to put on your ‘Sunday best.’ What other chance do you have to wear pj’s to a public event? It’s fun and it’s for a good cause.”