MARSHALL - Christmas came early for more than 40 children in the Marshall area, thanks to a number of community businesses and organizations that took part in the annual Making Homes for the Holidays program.
Slumberland Furniture got into the spirit of giving by donating approximately 2,000 mattress and box spring sets throughout the Midwest communities, including a record-high amount at the Marshall location Wednesday evening.
"We're one of the bigger givers this year, store percentage-wise," said Jeff Bragg, manager of Slumberland in Marshall. "We originally talked about a couple of dozen, but the families, there were just more needs, so we just kept raising the number. It's been really exciting."
Photo by Jenny Kirk
Marshall Slumberland Furniture owner Carol Bragg, right, assists Nasra Hassan and Faduma Masoliah with selecting sheets, blankets and other items for their two children Wednesday at Slumberland. In addition to the bedding, new twin bed sets and toys were donated to children in need through the annual Making Homes for the Holidays program.
According to Bragg and his mother, Carol Bragg, owner of the Marshall Slumberland store, the mission is to get kids off the floor and into new twin-size beds.
"The goal of this program is to make sure it's brand new beds, not used or recycled beds," Jeff Bragg said. "They're new beds from Sealy, going to kids who are currently not in a bed at all. So we're getting kids off the floor, out of a shared bed with some other family member, and into their own bed for the first time, as a new bed. It really is a neat program."
While Slumberland donated mattresses, box springs, frames and pillows, other organizations, including Living Word Church, Hy-Vee and Kmart, also stepped forward to give additional items, including bedding, toys and refreshments.
"Slumberland employees and community volunteers from Living Word Church have donated sheets, blankets, homemade quilts and toys to give away to families," Bragg said. "Kmart did a discount on all the twin sheets, so we had a bunch of fun, themed sheets, like 'Cars,' Angry Birds, 'Toy Story,' princesses, all the Disney stuff. We're trying to get them set where they have everything from the bedding to the toy and all."
Living Word member Al Holland met families at the door Wednesday and assisted Slumberland employees and other volunteers with the process. Holland said he was more than happy to help out and noted that other church members were also strong advocates for the homeless and those in need.
"We're constantly doing this at Living Word," he said. "It's part of our mission, to work with Refuge. We're much in-tuned with the homeless and the people with needs. Christ said to go out and take care of the poor and the widows and orphans, so that's what we're trying to do."
As Living Word has grown, from 40 members two years ago when it first began to nearly 400 members currently, so has the ability to service more people, Holland said. The church continually collects furniture and food in its quest to help others.
"It's amazing how many people don't have anything," he said. "They're living in bare wall rooms and kids are sleeping on the floors. People say, 'oh, that can't be in Marshall,' but it is."
Another Living Word member, Samuel Bonsu, wore a Santa hat as he helped other volunteers sort and load beds into vehicles Wednesday.
"We do a lot of volunteer stuff like this," Bonsu said. "It's always good to give back. It feels good. At the end of the day, I feel like I've been blessed with so much, so why not give something back?"
Gaging from the smiles on the children's faces, the combined efforts truly meant something.
"I love it," Desiree said of her new bed.
A visit from Santa also brought out a lot of smiles Wednesday, as did refreshments, which were donated by Hy-Vee.
"The kids are really excited," Bragg said. "It's a huge undertaking, but it's great to give like this."