A bed to call their own
Dec 01, 2017 08h00
By Natalie Mollinet
Students at East High School receive new, portable mattresses of their own. (Jordan Carli Photography)
A good night’s rest is vital to a student’s academic performance. So, imagine, after a long day at school, having to sleep on the cold floor or on a lumpy sofa. Every night. That’s how it is for many students in Utah who lack a mattress to sleep on. In November, DownEast Home & Clothing donated hundreds of mattresses to children in need, including students at East High School.
“This is an ideal solution for children we serve at our school,” Kris Barta, the Family Involvement Program coordinator at East High School, said. “We’re grateful to DownEast for their compassion and foresight in stepping up to this challenge.”
In Utah, many children and teens lack proper bedding. They either find a couch to sleep on or a cot in a shelter. A good night’s rest is always sporadic for these kids.
“As we were developing our own line of mattresses for DownEast Home Stores, we learned about the number of children going without a good night’s sleep,” Bill Freedman, co-founder of DownEast said. “It’s heartbreaking, and we are committed to becoming part of the solution.”
DownEast donated 80 mattresses to East High School’s Family Support Initiative. The mattresses went to the school’s homeless and transient students who were excited to see boxes for them presented by DownEast. DownEast hopes that the mattresses will help them keep their focus on learning.
“Without a good night’s sleep, these kids have a hard time concentrating and learning,” Barta said. “With these beds, they now know they’ll have a comfortable night’s sleep wherever they lay their heads.”
The mattresses can be easily folded up and transported as the students move from place to place. DownEast created the “Mattress on the Go” for this reason. Its a lightweight, twin-size foldable and is CertiPUR-Us certified for safety. It has built-in handles and can convert into a small sofa or chair. The mattress isn’t for sale but is designed for these ongoing donations.
“We were inspired by socially responsible companies like Tom’s (of Maine) and realized we have an amazing product and can really make a difference,” Freedman said. “In partnership with our customers, we are giving those in need a mattress that works for their situation, a bed to call their own and take wherever they spend each night.”
DownEast Home & Clothing is a Utah-based retailer and, at the time, donated 700 mattresses in just two weeks. They hope to continue to donate more around the state and already have in cities including Salt Lake, Provo, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Boise, Logan and St. George.
“We have daily needs for beds for our clients,” said Janene Candalot, program manager at Vantage Point, a service facility in Provo. “This donation will provide not only a good night’s sleep for the children we serve but also peace of mind knowing it’s theirs to keep.”