The 5th annual 10-Year Plan Pajama Party plays a significant role in raising money to assist in creating and sustaining a permanent homeless medical-respite program within the Cape Fear region. Proceeds raised benefit the project in providing short-term recuperation for injured and ill homeless people.
The 10-Year Plan procures funding through the City of Wilmington, New Hanover County, United Way of the Cape Fear Area, and other area donors. The program strives to protect post-operation or post-illness homeless people from having to recover on the streets.
“Two years ago [we decided] to try to use the event to begin to raise funds to pilot a homeless medical respite care project,” Liz Makley, project manager of 10-Year Plan, says. “Homeless medical respite care is an evidence-based practice that provides homeless people being released from hospitals a place to safely recuperate short-term after-surgery or following treatment for a highly contagious illness or accident.”
The program provides relatively inexpensive recuperative care heath options, resulting in improved recovery outcomes. Since the 10-Year Plan was implemented there has been over a 50 percent decrease in the number of homeless people forced to recover in unsuitable environments, with numbers dropping from 628 in 2007 to 322 in 2013. Out of the 322 people, only 63 people were noted as being disabled, which showed a 70 percent drop from 211 people in 2007.
The 10-Year Plan Pajama Party has become a symbol within the community that not everyone is fortunate enough to retreat to the safety of one’s own home at night with a pair of comfortable pajamas. When it comes to recovering from a surgical procedure or an illness, conditions can worsen during the healing process if one doesn’t reside in an appropriate, safe environment. Unfortunately, for most homeless people who face this issue, there are limited options when it comes to finding a place to recover. In 2012 the PJ Party raised approximately $500 toward creating some seed money for a homeless medical respite care project for the Cape Fear area.
“We initially intended to use that money as leverage for a significant grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services that would have constricted a ‘brick and mortar’ homeless medical respite care facility,” Makley tells. However, that application was denied funding, so the 10-Year Plan began searching for other options.
Nearly $2,500 was raised at the 2013 party, adding to the funds raised in 2012. The strategy team had approximately $3,000 to launch a pilot demonstration project.
“[We] settled on the disAbility Resource Center (dRC) as the principle partner and operations lead for the pilot,” she explains. “Three post-surgical homeless people were referred by the Good Shepherd Center’s health unit [along with a] treating physician. [They were] accepted as clients for the June 2013 pilot.”
The three inaugural patients recuperated from hospitalization for surgery last summer, using the funds raised at two previous PJ Party events. Two of them were recovering from orthopedic surgery, and the third was receiving treatment from multiple dog bites he had sustained.
“The clients were housed in a local motel and fed meals by staff from Good Shepherd Center,” Makley details. “Their recovery was managed by a care coordinator at the dRC. All [three patients] recovered within several days of being accepted and temporarily housed in the motel. [One] actually found permanent supportive housing through the efforts of the dRC care coordinator and RHA housing services, a local provider.”
Although there is no cap on what the 10-Year Plan staff would like to raise at this year’s event, their immediate goal is to obtain locally-based grant-funding for a more permanent program, and use the dollars raised by the PJ Party as leverage for additional funding.
“At the very minimum, we would hope to raise sufficient funding through the PJ Party to conduct a second—and more extensive—demonstration project next fall and winter,” Makley comments.
The PJ party will feature a fashion show, sponsored by Lilies & Lace and CoolSweats, who will provide threads for the models to showcase on the runway. Hairxperts will bring a glamorous flair to the show. A breakfast buffet with food made by Shell Island will be served up, along with complimentary drinks, a silent auction, and, of course, a PJ contest.
Over the years, organizers of the fund-raiser have seen several fun and creative variations of what some consider “pajamas.” From night gowns to flannel robes to silk pajamas to adults wearing kids’ jammies, it gives guests the chance to show off their fun side.
“Have you ever seen a city councilman in a red-footed onesie…we have!” Makely quips. “We’ve had guests wear fuzzy bunny slippers [with] their hair in rollers and even Breathe-Right strips!” Guests will be given the opportunity throughout the night to submit their vote for [their] favorite pajamas.
Auction items even will include two autographed baseballs—one signed by Fred Lynn of the Boston Red Socks and the other by Jim Abbott of the New York Yankees. “I will say our prizes and silent-auction items are awesome this year, but you will have to join us at the PJ Party to find out exactly what they are,” Makley teases. “Just a hint: We received a package in the mail from the Carolina Panthers!”
The event takes place on Friday, March 28th, at Shell Island Resort at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45 and can be purchased online, www.5thannualpajamaparty.eventbrite.com.
10-Year Plan Pajama Party
Shell Island Resort
2700 Lumina Ave.
Fri., Mar. 28th, 7-10 p.m.