By B.C. Manion
The idea of being able to sleep on a bed at night seems so basic that it’s hard to fathom some children don’t have that option.
But that’s the stark reality for children in many poor families — and Ashley Furniture Homestore Ltd. wants to help change that picture.
The furniture store has launched a national campaign called “A Hope to Dream” which aims to provide 1,000 beds for children in need during 2011.
“The way that it works is $5 for every mattress that Ashley sells is donated to the “A Hope to Dream program,” said Anthony Cappellini, store manager at Ashley Furniture Homestore in Wesley Chapel.
“I think it’s a fantastic program to help a child in need to get a good night’s sleep,” Cappellini said.
“You think that everybody has a place to sleep. I think it is something you take for granted,” the manager said. “Unfortunately, in today’s world, that’s not true.”
The company is asking the community to help by nominating children they know who need a bed, Cappellini said.
No purchase is required. Those wishing to nominate a child in need are asked to explain in 100 words or less why the child is a worthy recipient.
A panel will review the applications and choose the recipients. Children ages 3-16 are eligible for the program.
Cappellini has been speaking to community groups to get the word out about the program, which Ashley launched in 2010.
“I think it’s a great thing that our company is doing by helping our communities, our children in need,” Cappellini said. “We want to help these folks.”
The company gave away 183 pieces nationally, including 44 in the Florida region during the first quarter of the program, said Ruthie Bautista, an executive assistant for the furniture store and local market champion for the program.
The sets consist of a mattress, a foundation and a metal frame, she said. Each set is valued at $380.
A child may be nominated more than once, but can only receive one bed, Bautista said. More than one child in a family can receive a bed. Applications are kept on file for a year and recipients are chosen on a quarterly basis. The next selection is scheduled for this month.
A family in Plant City received three beds during the company’s first giveaway in December, said Bautista, noting she had tears in her eyes when the family told her how much the beds meant to them.
Anyone interested in learning more about the program or in nominating a child in need can visit www.ashleyfurniturehomestore.com/events/ahopetodream.html