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Sleepyhead Beds expands outreach to provide more beds for kids

Sleepyhead Beds
Posted at 5:19 AM, Oct 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-15 07:44:28-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Every night, more than two million kids across the country go to sleep without a bed, including thousands in the Kansas City metro area.

Now, a local group is expanding its outreach efforts to try to give as many children as possible a comfortable place to sleep.

Sleepyhead Beds works to collect gently-used mattresses and give them to kids in need for free.

"We really want the kids and families we serve to feel like they're getting something wonderful," Gayle Holmes, executive director of Sleepyhead Beds, said.

Right now, the group has a waitlist of around 900 families in need of a bed.

To cut down on that waitlist, Sleepyhead Beds is looking to expand its outreach efforts. It already partners with the city of Overland Park every year, setting up four collection days and making the rounds across the city.

"We're looking for other communities that might want to do this: let us come around before you do bulky item [collections days] and take those mattresses and keep them out of the landfill," Holmes said.

The organization is looking to work with neighborhood or homeowners associations, college dorms, hotels or other groups from whom they could pick up large numbers of mattresses in a short amount of time.

"We are great at working our way in and managing what works great for your community," Holmes said.

For the Overland Park collection days, Sleepyhead Beds also partners with Avenue of Life. Any mattresses that do not meet the criteria for donation are recycled by Avenue of Life, so they still don't end up in a landfill.

The ones that do meet the criteria for donation are taken to the Sleepyhead Beds warehouse, where they're sanitized with a product called "Steri-Fab."

"It's FDA approved, and it's anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and it just takes care of anything that might be on that piece," Holmes said. "The promise we're delivering to these families is we're going to give you something healthy and safe."

The group then works with more than 150 Kansas City-area social agencies to identify families with kids who need a bed.

The detriments of low-quality sleep can be serious for anyone, especially children.

According to a study by Harvard University, lack of sleep can cause problems with attention, emotional control and peer relationships.

The mission of Sleepyhead Beds is to help as many children as possible get a good night's sleep.

"A month later they talk to these families and people are sleeping better and in better spirits and doing better in school," Holmes said. "And it just really starts to add up to be just a profound impact on these families."

In addition to group collection days, Sleepyhead Beds does accept individual mattress donations. There is a $40 pick-up fee to cover the cost of staff and materials.

The list of criteria for mattress donations and the link to schedule a pick-up can be found on the Sleepyhead Beds website.

The group also accepts mattress drop-offs at its warehouse at 5604 Troost Ave. Donors should call 816-547-9965 to make arrangements for drop-off.

Bedding donations, such as sheets and pillowcases, are accepted at any time in the dropbox outside of the warehouse on Troost Avenue.