Community comes together for “Build-A-Bed” Project

Mankato Times

MANKATO, MINN. — Six area organizations are collaborating to meet a significant need for low-income people in our community – a bed to sleep on.  SS Boutique, Partners for Affordable Housing, Hilton Garden Inn, AmeriCorps, Volk Transfer and My Mankato Storage are coming to together to connect mattresses and bed frames to families who desperately need them.

More people in our community are going without a bed to give a good night’s rest. They might have just moved out of a shelter into stable housing, or are struggling to make ends meet, or for reasons unknown don’t have bed to curl in at night which can lead to sleep deprivation and numerous other problems.

“Just one week of insufficient sleep can lead to a weaker immunity, inability to cope with stress, poor diet, decreased cognitive thinking, and increased rick of depression,” shares Brianna Anderson, Founder of SS Boutique, an organization that accepts, sorts and distributes much needed clothing and shoes free of charge to those in need.  “We often think of clothing, food and housing as significant needs, but a comfortable place to sleep is a priority also.  Sleeping on a couch or the floor or in a car does not lead to sound sleep which everyone, especially children, need to function.”

“Throughout the year, we receive at least 100 calls from people looking for beds for themselves or their children,” says Jen Theneman, Partners for Affordable Housing executive director, an agency that assists with emergency and temporary housing for those experiencing homelessness.  “We rarely have enough for each member of the family, and when we do, it’s a twin size that are donated from colleges in the summer.  A recent call from Hilton Garden Inn asking if we would accept and distribute their mattresses was an amazing surprise.  Soon after, Anderson came to me with her idea of building beds.  I shared the opportunity to distribute mattresses thanks to Hilton Garden Inn, and we thought the timing was incredible and better than either of us dreamed separately.”

It is anticipated that Hilton Garden Inn, who is replacing their queen and king-sized mattresses, will have at least 100 to donate. “We have partnered with Partners for Affordable Housing for assistance in distributing items that we replace.  Our goal is to get these items directly to people that need them and not have to spend money they don’t really have to buy them at a thrift store,” says Carrie Flanagan, Director of Sales at Hilton Garden Inn in Mankato.  Flanagan also reached out for help in transporting and storing the mattresses until they could be delivered.  Volk Transfer happily provided a semi-trailer for storage and transport and My Mankato Storage offered storage units to keep the mattresses in until distribution occurred.

The Build-A-Bed event will occur on January 11, 13 and 15th at the Mankato Makerspace and volunteers and donors are needed to make it happen. AmeriCorps volunteers are committed to take the lead on building the frames, but more people are needed to assemble. You can find more information on Facebook.

People interested in getting involved can support in multiple ways: monetary donations, assembly of bed frames, new or gently used twin, queen or king sheets, and new pillows would be happily accepted.  Anderson states that a donation of $100 will pay for a bed frame, bedding, new pillow and delivery of mattress, frame and bedding right to a person’s home, but a donation of less would certainly be appreciated.  Everything will be given to those in need at no cost to them.

Community members interested in donating can visit SS boutique’s website, and click on the Donate or Volunteer tabs.  For those who are in need of a bed, they can contact Partners for Affordable Housing at 507-387-2115. 

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