D.C. "Pajama Lady" helps kids in need on Christmas

WASHINGTON -- Far from the North Pole, there's a special delivery just in time for Christmas. Inside the delivered boxes are pajamas - hundreds of them -- for DC area foster children.

Kathy Jackson carries a box of donated pajamas CBS News

"When kids come into foster care they have nothing," said Kathy Jackson. "They come in with the clothes on their back. Child and Family Services, they're great at getting clothes and jackets and shoes and stuff but even they'll admit that they don't, they hadn't had pajamas, they hadn't really thought of it, they had other things to worry about."

Jackson did think of it and that's why this time of year, she's known as the "Pajama Lady."

"Most people grow up with pajamas as part of their Christmas tradition and I like the idea of passing that down," Jackson told me.

She launched the DC Holiday Pajama Drive in 2010 after a grueling year battling Leukemia.

"When you were going through your treatment, you found comfort in pajamas?" I asked her.

"I spent a total of 12 weeks in the hospital and for those 12 weeks the only thing that I could wear was pajamas," she answered.

Jackson wanted to make that year's Christmas extra special for her three adopted foster children. They came to her home years earlier with trash bags full of clothes that didn't fit. She remembered how excited her youngest, Tyler, was when he got his first pair of PJs.

"He was running around the apartment (saying) 'I love my pajamas!'" she said.

From 352 pairs that first year, the drive has snowballed. She's now in her fourth year. Jackson told me they ended up with more than 1,500 pairs in 2013.

This year she expects even more, with sets from all 50 states. Jackson says it's her way of fostering as many children as possible.

"It's kind of overwhelming thinking about kid after kid after kid opening up Christmas presents," Jackson said, clutching her chest before adding: "It's great."

Kathy Jackson holds a pair of pajamas as part of her annual Holiday Pajama Drive CBS News

A child smiled as he saw a pair of "Avengers" PJs, donated thanks to Jackson -- a different kind of superhero for kids who need some rescuing.

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    Julianna Goldman is a CBS News correspondent based in the Washington bureau.