For FishHawk resident Robyn Walters, affectionately nicknamed ‘Sunny’ by her 10 grandchildren, the routine surrounding bedtime has always been a sacred one, and incomplete without a pair of cozy pajamas ready in hand. Having raised five children of her own and previously fostered 32 kids, Walters has always made it a priority to ensure brand-new nightwear remains available in her home.

Although no longer actively fostering children, Walters held steadfast to this passion while volunteering with the West Florida Foster Care Services (WFFCS) on a previous project. Upon speaking with a friend and fellow volunteer, Barbara Howard, Walters expressed her desire to start a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing children in the foster care system with opportunities to receive new pajamas, one she planned to christen as ‘Sunny’s PJs.’

“Pajamas are something we all take for granted,” said Walters. “They deserve at least one pair of new pajamas when they come in.”

However, after her stage IV pancreatic cancer diagnosis, Walters’ family and friends took it as an opportunity to get the community involved with her mission. Upon inviting the director of family advocacy of the West Florida Foster Care Services, Janet Rinaldi, to attend a Riverview Woman’s Club meeting in April as the guest speaker, Howard began to realize the connection between Walters’ aspirations and the work of the WFFCS. After confirming a partnership between Walters and WFFCS, the Sunny’s PJs drive was born.

“Her family and friends decided to host this donation drive in her honor as a way to help her still fulfill that dream and give her some encouragement while she’s going through her cancer treatment,” said Rinaldi.

Donations of brand-new pajamas are currently being collected by the WFFCS through its ‘empty closets,’ or collection sites, whose hours are made available on the WFFCS website.

These locations include Temple Terrace United Methodist Church, located at 5030 E. Busch Blvd. in Temple Terrace; Riverview United Methodist Church, located at 8002 U.S. Hwy. 301 S. in Riverview; and Theater Arts and Dance Alliance (TADA), located at 16711 FishHawk Blvd. in Lithia. For those interested in making a monetary donation, there is a direct link available on the WFFCS website.

Hoping that this drive will one day indeed become a nonprofit, Walters is appreciative of all the support she has received from friends, family and the community.

“I cannot begin to say thank you enough for taking the smallest little sliver of a dream that I had before I knew I had any kind of illness that I might not someday be able to do it and making that wish come true,” said Walters. “There’s no amount of gratitude I can begin to show them.”

For more information on this drive or to make a donation, please visit or the WFFCS Facebook page.

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