Community Champions

Crystal Allen Therapist, New Jersey MENTOR
Grant Recipient, Mom’s Pajamas

Crystal Allen is the founder of Mom’s Pajamas, a non-profit organization that collects pajama sets and donates them to women at domestic violence shelters in southern New Jersey and southwest Florida.

“The first night a woman stays at a shelter can be scary and uncomfortable,” said Crystal. “A set of new pajamas makes their stay a little bit easier.”

Growing up, Crystal and her three sisters would give pajama sets to their mother, Laura Mae Allen, for Christmas. When they tragically lost her in a motorcycle accident in 2010, the sisters searched for a way to honor their mother and connect with each other in her memory. The first Christmas without their mom was tough, and it didn’t feel right to remove her from their Christmas lists.

“So we decided to keep the tradition going,” said Crystal. “Only now we would give the pajamas to other deserving moms by donating them to a local domestic violence shelter. We chose a shelter that was particularly helpful to our family in our younger years, which we thought our mother would appreciate.”

Inspired by this heartfelt initiative, friends, family and co-workers of the Allen sisters began donating pajama sets as well. The family began partnering with local businesses that allowed them to keep donation boxes in their stores and recently became their local Bank of America’s chosen “non-profit of the month.” In conjunction with her sisters, Crystal officially founded Mom’s Pajamas in October of 2014, a registered 501(c)3 in New Jersey and Florida. The organization held their first annual pajama drive last winter, which was a huge success. Mom’s Pajamas collected nearly 500 sets that were distributed to local domestic violence shelters in southern New Jersey and southwest Florida, where one of Crystal’s sisters resides. Their goal is to exceed 500 donations next year.

“I am touched by the notes of thanks we receive from the women at the shelter,” shared Crystal. “I also think about my mother every time I receive a donated pair of pajamas or someone posts a comment on our Facebook page,” she said. “I feel like we’re really honoring her in this way.”

“Crystal is a natural helper, evidenced by her extraordinary work as a therapist here at New Jersey MENTOR, and through her dedication to Mom’s Pajamas,” said Teresa Havers, Area Director at New Jersey MENTOR. “Her commitment to enhancing the experience of women staying at domestic violence shelters is inspirational, and we are proud to have her on our team.”

To learn more about Mom’s Pajamas, please visit www.momspajamas.org.