He’s already helped hundreds of kids and he’s only 7 years old. And with the help of a family-owned business in Glastonbury, he’s hoping to help even more.
“No one should wear dirty clothes to bed,” said Oliver Koenig-Paquin.
For Oliver, it all began when he was 4 years old. His preschool teacher asked for everyone to bring in one pair of pajamas but his parents say he didn’t really understand why.
“When we sat him down and explained why he was bringing the pajamas in, it dawned on him that not everyone had a pair to go to bed in. He said, ‘then we need to go to the store tonight and buy 100 pajamas,’” said mom Danielle Paquin.
“I wanted to help other kids who didn’t have any,” said Oliver.
Instead of buying all those PJs, Oliver managed to get friends and family to donate them and brought in more than 100 pairs. That was the beginning of Oliver’s Pajama Project, and every year since then, that number has only grown. Last year 577 pairs went to Connecticut kids, donated from generous families all across the state and the country.
“He's been a vehicle, in a way, for our community to support other people who may not be as fortunate as others of us are, and he's really helped change the mindset of a lot of people around us and just realizing that we can be a little more giving and share what we have,” said Paquin.
“He’s a special soul. He’s got a sweet spirit, and he’s a good kid,” said mom Tammy Koenig. “It’s been amazing to watch, and I’ve been very proud but not just of Oliver but the community in general.”
This year the 7-year-old has an even bigger goal in mind, and a family-owned business on Main Street in Glastonbury wanted to help. For the month of November, 1000 Degrees owner Joseph Weiss is offering a free 10-inch pizza for those who donate new pajamas.
“We’re honored to be a part of it with him because we know it’s his big thing every year, and to be a part of that for him is very special,” said Weiss.
With pizza and PJs teaming up, they’re hoping one thousand kids can get a gift that many of us take for granted.
“Every kid should have pajamas,” said Oliver.
Oliver says he wants to continue his pajama project for the rest of his life. For those who want to donate, bring a new pair of PJs for kids, any size up to 3x, to 1000 Degrees in Glastonbury.
Oliver’s Pajama Project works with Scholastic Books, which donates a book for every pair of PJs donated. It’ll all be handed out to kids in need in December.