People of all ages across a hundred cities around the world whacked each other until feathers flew and rained down on them this past Saturday. Thousands of New Yorkers flocked to Washington Square Park to participate in the feathery event as International Pillow Fight day was a memorable event enjoyed by family and friends.
What many people may not know is that this event is also a charitable one. Kevin Bracken, co-founder of Newmindspace — the group that organized the event — says that they encourage participants to leave their pillows behind, so that the event organizers can donate them to the thousands of homeless children in New York City.
“Pillow fighting… it’s a very frivolous thing, right?” Bracken said. “But that’s okay as long as we do it for a good cause. So, I mean we can just buy a brand-new pillow and then throw it away after fifteen minutes of pillow fighting, but there are twenty thousand children in New York City homeless shelters — and if we can collect two thousand pillows then we can give a new pillow to ten percent of the homeless children population in New York City. So that’s our goal.”
However, Bracken continued, saying Newmindspace’s charitable efforts started somewhat after they began organizing events in 2005. Bracken said he owes a great deal of credit to his friend Jennifer Small, who came up with the original idea of donating pillows to animal shelters, sparking the idea to donate the pillows to homeless shelters instead.
“Over the years, we started getting more and more brand-new pillows and so we thought that these were definitely suitable for human-use, and so now we work with an amazing charity called DaretoB,” Bracken said.
Mother and daughter Patricia and Rainie Lopez, heard about the event through Facebook three years ago and have attended ever since, using this event as a way to relieve stress.
“This is our third year coming to this and it’s fun,” Lopez said.
Her daughter, Rainie, elaborated, “[This] helps us let out stress,” Lopez said. “But we had to buy new pillows for this because if we use the ones we already have, I can’t sleep later!”
A version of this article appeared in the April 4 print edition. Email Rebecca Oh at [email protected]