WAKEFIELD -- Pulling up to Dolbeare Elementary School in Wakefield, everyone in the Bruins contingent could sense the excitement. The chatter of the first grade students echoed throughout the school as a Bruins representative walked into the gym to greet and thank everyone for all their help and generosity.
This ecstatic energy was for veteran Bruins forward P.J. Axelsson.
Axelsson made the trip to congratulate Dolbeare Elementary School on winning the Second Annual P.J.’s Pajama Drive.
The school of 488 students exceeded its original goal and collected over 1,400 pairs of pajamas, and in doing so, led a statewide initiative that brought warmth to young children ages 0-12 living in lower income households around Massachusetts.
P.J.'s Pajama Drive exceeded its original goal of 7,000 and collected 12,000 pairs of pajamas.
Jen White, Director of Development for Cradles to Crayons—the nonprofit organization in charge of the project—attended the event and could not be more thankful for the success that the Bruins, and Axelsson in particular, have brought the organization.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Bruins and P.J., as well as his family,” said White. “What he and his family have done is create a path for kids that is fun and easy so they could give back to their community.”
The excitement was overwhelming for all who attended the event. The whole gym lit up with cheers and youthful smiles as the longtime Bruin spoke -- a fitting reward for the selfless efforts of the Dolbeare Elementary students and their families.
“We plan on doing it again next year,” said White. “We have a goal of 15,000 pairs next year and hope to exceed that.”
Considering the success of this year's P.J.'s Pajama Drive, that lofty goal could well be within reach.
Axelsson, often applauded for his selflessness both on and off the ice, was thrilled with the outcome of the drive and the atmosphere at Dolbeare Elementary.
“This experience means a lot to me and it was nice to see that many excited kids,” said the Swede, whose smart, consistent play was an integral part of the B's recent turnaround, as well as an Olympic gold medal for his home country at the Winter Olympic Games in 2006. “They were excited to donate and I think it is important for kids to learn to give back to their community.”