Surprise Squad awards $5K to founder of child charity Project Sleep Tight

Sponsored by Valley Toyota Dealers
Project Sleep Tight gives homeless and displaced kids childhood essentially to make sure they're comfortable during tough times.
Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 2:05 PM MST
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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — When Jeanie was a teacher at a Gilbert grade school about a decade ago, she and her students started a community service club. Initially, they adopted different programs in the community but eventually decided to make their own charity and created Project Sleep Tight. Project Sleep Tight packs and delivers tote bags filled with goodies to displaced children. Jeanie’s cousin was so impressed with the organization that she wrote in to the Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad to tell the team about it.

3TV’s Tess Rafols and the crew were so impressed they wanted to give Jeanie a good surprise. They told her they were coming out to do a news story on the non-profit, but little did Jeanie know they had something else up their sleeves. They met her at a storage unit in Mesa where she keeps all her inventory. The walls were decorated with inspirational posters that were originally in her classroom.

Jeanie explained that all the tote bags go to children in difficult situations. “These go to children who are displaced,” she said. “That would be homeless shelters, domestic violence centers, refugees and foster care — any child that has been uprooted from their house, their normal routine and needs some type of comfort.” Each tote bag contains a stuffed animal, a fleece blanket, an age-appropriate book, and a toothbrush.

Project Sleep Tight is made up entirely of volunteers. Not a single person gets paid. Jeanie said during the holidays, she often has plenty of volunteers and many donations, but those tend to go away when the summer months roll around. Jeanie often has to use her own money to cover expenses.

“I have a little confession,” Tess said. “We told you we were here to do a story on you and what Project Sleep Tight does — and we are because we want people to know about your great organization — but more importantly, we want you to know the work you do is seen. Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad, along with your Valley Toyota Dealers, want to give you this.” She handed Jeanie an envelope.

“OK, I wasn’t ready for this,” Jeanie said after she opened it and saw that the Surprise Squad was donating $5,000 to her charity. “Thank you. Can I hug you?” she said.

“Yes you can,” Tess said while smiling. “I love hugs.”

“This is fabulous, seriously,” Jeanie said. “It will help pay for the facility to store all this. To order the bags. The bags are expensive. Just to keep everything going. Great. Thank you.”

If you would like to volunteer with Project Sleep Tight or to make a donation, go to the website at