DownEast delivers good night’s sleep to disadvantaged children

ST. GEORGE — A customer-driven campaign to provide children living in transitional or temporary housing a comfortable bed to sleep in hit Switchpoint Community Resource Center Friday when 50 specially designed mattresses were delivered to the facility courtesy of DownEast Home and Clothing, a Utah-based retailer.

The benefits of a good night’s sleep are well-known, and for children, it is particularly important as rest promotes growth, improves health, increases attention span and boosts learning. But sadly, thousands of homeless children in many communities regularly go without that revitalizing rest.

DownEast Home and Clothing, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 19, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

“It’s heartbreaking and we are committed to becoming part of the solution,” Bill Freedman, DownEast company co-founder, said.

To address the problem, DownEast Home and Clothing is providing 700 mattresses to children in a multistate initiative over the next two weeks, and the Switchpoint delivery was the first of many scheduled, DownEast Regional Manager Brad Smith said.

Switchpoint helps those in need secure shelter and other resources.

Each time a DownEast mattress is sold, either in stores or online, a “Mattress on the Go” is donated to a child in need, a campaign that began in May during the launch of the company’s new mattress line developed for retail sale.

The special beds were developed side-by-side with the company’s new line of comfort mattresses. The twin-size on-the-go mattresses, which come with a memory foam pillow, were specifically designed for use by children who are living in transitional housing or regularly moving from one place to another. Made with lightweight material, the beds can be easily washed and fold down quickly while saving space. The beds are manufactured specifically for use as donations and are not available for retail sale.

“DownEast went through extra steps to develop something that works for children who may need to transport the mattress with them to transitional housing or wherever they are going, so it took a lot of engineering and heart to make these mattresses just right for these children,” DownEast company spokesperson Gail Halladay said.

The compact size of the mattresses work well with the limited storage space available at Switchpoint, so for families moving into the facility’s housing program these mattresses work great, Switchpoint Executive Assistant Kristen Clark said.

Group picture with employees of DownEast Home and Clothing, corporate staff and Switchpoint residents and management during mattress delivery, Switchpoint Community Resource Center, St. Geroge, Utah, Nov 19, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The mattresses were given to children living at the temporary housing facility as well as to children whose families are participating in the transitional housing program — families that are moving or have moved from Switchpoint to a permanent residence.

Within two weeks, hundreds of mattresses will be donated to children in seven cities across four states, starting in Utah with Salt Lake City, St. George, Provo and Logan. The company will then continue to Las Vegas, Nevada, Pheonix, Arizona, and Boise, Idaho.

The idea for the campaign came about when the company learned about the number of children going without a good night’s sleep while it was developing the mattress line to be sold in stores, Freedman said.

Driven to be a part of the solution, Freedman said he decided the company would follow a donation initiative fueled by consumers themselves.

One of the aspects of donating a mattress for every mattress sold that is very appealing to Sarah Nielson, a home sales manager for the company, is that customers have a different mindset when they are making the purchase, she said.

“Instead of just buying a mattress for themselves,”  Nielson said, “they realize the importance of those children that need a mattress so it makes that purchase so much more important.”

The donation aspect also makes it easier to sell the mattresses, Nielson said, which in turn means more mattresses will be donated.

DownEast Sales Manager Rickell Shelton said one of her favorite aspects of the campaign is the excitement that many customers exhibit once the program is explained to them.

DownEast Home and Clothing employees at work, Washington City, Utah, Nov 19, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

“They were already in the market for a new mattress …,” Shelton said, “but when we tell them that a child in need is going to benefit from that, they get really excited and love being a part of that.”

During sleep, a child’s body is working to support healthy brain function, maintain physical health and support growth and development. Quality sleep that is uninterrupted allows a child to move through all the different and necessary stages of sleep, which plays an essential role in nervous system development.

Studies show that a good night’s sleep improves learning and creativity and increases the ability to pay attention, all while enhancing a child’s problem-solving skills. Studies also show that sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain, making it more difficult to make decisions, control emotions and behavior and cope with change.

Children and teens who are sleep-deficient may feel angry and impulsive, have mood swings and have problems getting along with others, which can lead to lower grades and increased stress.

“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 to take wherever they spend each night,” Freedman said. “We want to give them the good night’s sleep they deserve.”

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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