Here at Sleepopolis, we know the power of a good bed. It truly can transform a person’s life, bringing them sleep that’s not only comfortable, but restorative and energizing. However, we also know that mattresses are expensive and that these high price tags can act as a barrier to entry for the very folks that could benefit the most from an incredible night’s rest.
That’s why were were touched to read a local story out of Florida this morning, which highlighted the efforts of a group of grad students to get brand new beds into the hands of those in need.
The story centers on Lotus House, a Miami-based organization dedicated to improving the lives of homeless women, youth and children. While the House provides these vulnerable families with shelter, the main focus is on giving them the skills they need to find a home of their own.
Though the non-profit is well equipped to empower these women with education, counseling and access to community resources, starting from scratch in an empty house also requires material goods: kitchenware, living room furniture and, of course, brand new mattresses.
This latter item often proves the hardest to find as Florida laws are strict about the conditions of donated beds. Although these laws are in place to protect the recipients, it makes it nearly impossible for Lotus House to secure the mattresses it needs to begin the process of moving a family into a new space.
“Even if a guest has the keys to her new home and is ready to move out of the shelter, we cannot move her without providing her with a brand-new bed.” Lotus House’s Vanessa Cordoba explained to FIU News. “If we can solve this particular problem, it frees up our logistical schedule allowing for more pickups of other furniture items rather than having to chase down clean beds all over Miami.”
Inspired to solve this problem, a group of graduate business students at Florida International University decided to do some “purposeful marketing” to make sure Lotus House could get the beds it needed.
50 BEDS FOR 50 FAMILIES
The project was conceived by FIU Professor of Consumer Behavior Jayati Sinha, who thought it was important for her students to take their skills out of the classroom and into the real world.
“I selected a non-profit organization for the class project to give students the opportunity to apply their knowledge learned from the program, and also feel as though they are part of something bigger,” she said. “I wanted the students to create and experience the benefits of purposeful marketing.”
To start, the students held an event at the local thrift store that supports Lotus House, where they educated customers on the non-profit’s mission and its current mattress need. They then sought out companies that might want to partner with the organization and contribute beds to the cause. Ultimately, it was a Rooms-to-Go franchise that stepped up to the plate and made it possible for 50 Lotus families to get the mattresses they needed to start their new lives.
“We were able to give [them] brand new mattresses… and this significantly changed [their lives],” Cordoba said. “We are so grateful because it represents a new beginning for these women and it gives us the opportunity to help so many more.”
Featured image courtesy of Lotus House Shelter’s Instagram.