Everyone Deserves to Sleep in a Bed
One of my heartfelt beliefs includes everyone having a simple item that hundreds around the region we reside in, count as a costly luxury, far beyond their grasp. I believe that “everyone deserves to sleep in a bed”.
My husband, Barry, and I, through our ministry, Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs assist over 2,000 families each year throughout the region we reside in, by giving them basic household items for free. Items that most of us already have and use. But to many thousands within our (and your) communities and neighborhoods can only think of as priceless items.
Imagine being given a can of apple juice from the local food bank, only to not be able to open it. Why? You don’t own a can opener. Over the years, we’ve seen people so excited over a punch hole can opener, that you would think we had given them a priceless gem. To them–it was!!
A Bed Can Be A Priceless Item Too!
However, through the beds that are donated to us annually, those that are good and clean enough and still fit to be slept on, they are passed onto as many families as possible. In 2015, we assisted 146 men, women, and children to be in beds. These include mattresses, box springs, frames, pillows, sheets, blankets and comforters. In 2016, 87 people have been assisted. Note: these are not new beds–just gently used ones.
However, there are countless hundreds of people that still remain sleeping in deplorable conditions. Many are just a blanket breath away from the contact of a concrete floor. Yes, many people in our region are actually sleeping on concrete floors.
At any given time we have a waiting list 4 months or longer to access a bed for someone.
Now, you may ask, “Why do so many people need a bed?”
10 Top Reasons Why People May Need A Bed
The reasons are many and varied, but the top 10 reasons include:
leaving a dangerous living situation with only the clothes on their backs
a bedbug infestation
damage created by a pet, such as, urination, defecation, or even chewing
a child who is a bed wetter, and proper plastic covering was not put over the mattress in time
pregnancy causing to leave work early before money could be saved for a crib
bed is just worn out with age/use and may have springs poking through
a medical condition requiring a change of mattress
bunk beds are needed as people switch to smaller, cheaper accommodations
new downsizing to an apartment that is too small for current bed (eg. Many social housing units will not accommodate Queen size beds)
or a family member being given emergency custody of child(ren) before their own financial situation can be rearranged to cope with the sudden arrival of this/these child(ren).
Renting a Bed??
In desperation we have seen families, already struggling financially, having to resort to RENTING BEDS from various furniture rental companies. But as they fall behind in payments, only to have these same companies come along and take the beds back—once again placing vulnerable members of our communities, including children, the sick, and the elderly, back to sleeping on the floor.
Oh, sometimes they can get an air mattress, but quickly these develop leaks and by morning they are sleeping on the floor anyways.
Is it too much to expect that people have the right to own a bed, not rent, and have the security of having a good night’s sleep?
Along with giving people beds, at the same time, we try to also provide them with a bed frame, fresh pillows, set of sheets, and a blanket or comforter as well as a mattress pad/cover. In 2015, seeing the need so great, and feeling compassion for our fellow neighbors enduring this hardship, we kicked up this EVERYONE SHOULD SLEEP IN A BED campaign. We got this message out in our local paper and throughout our Facebook pages—but how about you?
How Can You Help?
Will you help us in our vision to see more families being able to sleep in a bed?
What can you do in your own local community?
What local organization in your community works with the vulnerable and needs help securing sources of good used bed donations. Or help with the storage of such beds. How about raising funds to purchase new, maybe factory seconds, from area manufacturers?
What can you do to raise awareness of the need in your community? And then do something to fix the problem too !!
By donating beds, frames, or bedding, you can help make life a little easier for many struggling families right in your own communities. By assisting local organizations trying to address this need with your financial support, enables them, and us. Enables us to network with various mattress and crib companies to try to arrange either their donations of such items or at greatly discounted prices. In this way we can see everyone having the dignity of owning and sleeping in a bed.
Hope To Dream Program–by Ashley Furniture (in the United States)
Recently 100 underprivileged children were treated to a slumber party with the Dallas Cowboys. After the event, each of these children were able to take these beds home. Valued at over $650 each, every child in attendance received their own new twin bed and bedding. Read the good news story here.
Ashley Furniture all throughout the United States has many stores that participate in their Hope To Dream program.
Like I previously mentioned, is there a way you can help? On its Hope To Dream webpage, you can nominate families in need. Do you know a child aged 3-16 years of age in need of a bed? Contact them here.
A Hope To Dream Program–by Ashley Furniture (in Canada)
Although not run entirely the same as in the United States, there is a program here in Canada. Started in 2010, A Hope To Dream, is seeking to provide children in need with a mattress set within their store local regions. For every mattress sold by Ashley Furniture, $5 is donated to this program. Check the store in your region.
A Bed Empowers People Towards A Hope And A Future
Over the 18 years of our ministry, there are literally countless stories to share. We will share the following 3 examples of how a bed empowers people towards a hope and a future.
1. A Single Mom Living Above A Bar
A single mom living above a bar with her child. We were able to set her up with a gorgeous complete bedroom suite set that had been donated. For years, she would contact us from time to time to give us an update. She felt that every night going to bed, she was a “princess” and floating on a cloud. She came to believe in herself and her abilities and finished high school. Later she completed university. Last contact from her, she shared with us that she is working in her chosen career, married, and expanding her family. WOW !! And it all started with a bed–giving her dignity.
2. A 3 year old boy graduating to a “big boy” bed
In the summer of 2016, we pulled into an apartment lot parking lot. Excitedly, there was a 3 year old boy jumping up and down.
“Are you the people bringing me a bed?”
We replied that yes we were. I showed him the bag with clean sheets, mattress protector, blanket and a pillow. Through the big bag he grabbed and hugged the pillow. He was so proud to be graduating to a “big boy” bed. He was so happy to give us his no longer needed toddler bed.
“Thank you Barry and Theresa for my new bed !”
Later that same afternoon, we gave his toddler bed to an 18 month old boy who had never even had a crib–this was going to be his first bed.
3. Woman in her 40’s sleeping on a wooden floor
Again recently, we dropped off a mattress only, and some bedding to a woman sleeping on a wooden floor in a cabin. We couldn’t even provide her with a box spring as there are none donated at this time. However, bright and early at 8:30 am she was at the door to meet us. She was so excited.
“Oh good. Maybe now I can have a good nights sleep and not feel 80 years old in the morning.”
She is probably half that age. Just being grateful to have a mattress and get her that much further off of the floor.
Let’s work together to see more men, women, children, and infants get to sleep in a proper bed. Where ever you live–you too can make a difference. Check into the programs and organizations in your community.
For more on this type of topic go to Help Lift the Life Couch