Since the age of six, twin sisters Lauren and Mackenzie Multari ’23 have been bringing comfort and warmth to those in need in the form of donated pajamas. Now, with the strength of the Peddie community behind them, they’re bringing sweet dreams to over 900 children in New Jersey this holiday season.
In the winter of 2010, inspired by an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Lauren and Mackenzie’s parents held a Christmas party. The price of admission? A pair of pajamas. The event made a huge impression on Lauren and Mackenzie, and for their shared birthday party the following spring, the girls chose not to ask for gifts for themselves. Instead, they asked members of their kindergarten class to bring pajamas for children in need.
The tradition of the Multaris’ pajama parties continued over the years, and as the girls grew older, so did their ambitions, entrepreneurial spirit and desire to do good. “As we’ve gotten older,” Lauren said, “we’ve started to realize how much need there is right in our own community. It makes us want to do more.” As a result, they decided to start a nonprofit organization devoted to collecting pajamas for children in need, and Lala & Mimi’s Pajama Project was born. Their nonprofit, powered by a small budget and the determination of its young founders, has collected over 10,000 sets of pajamas so far.
“Our goal as a nonprofit … obviously, it's helping people, but it’s also to inspire others to make their own difference in their own way,” said Mackenzie.
Lauren and Mackenzie have indeed proved inspirational. When local community service organization NJ Rise identified around 975 children who need pajamas during the holiday season, the two Peddie freshmen reached out to their new community for assistance. Peddie heeded the call, and over 900 pairs of pajamas have been donated so far as a result.
“Peddie recently changed ‘community service’ to ‘community and service,’” Lauren pointed out. “It's more important to students to really give back, instead of just checking off the time requirements for graduation. There's a great sense of community here.”