When families flee abuse, they often go to CAPSA for help. Their shelters house and help families and individuals of all ages and many of them come to the shelter with very few belongings of their own. Thanks to a new partnership with DownEast Home & Clothing, when those families transition out of the shelter some of them can now leave with more than what they had upon arrival.
The Utah-based retailer has designed a twin-sized mattress that easily folds up to help families dealing with transient situations. For every mattress they sell in their stores (whether that be a twin, full, queen or king-sized mattress), one Mattress On the Go will be donated to CAPSA. On Monday, the first of many mattresses were delivered to CAPSA by DownEast.
“We realized there are a lot of needy people, homeless and people who are somewhat transient and people who don’t have a comfy bed to sleep in,” explained Linda Chambers, store manager of the Logan DownEast Home & Clothing store. “They put a lot of development into (these beds). It’s a twin size but it has handles on it so it’s easy to grab and go. It also comes with a memory foam pillow.”
Chambers said the beds are not only easily portable, but they are also designed to help people relax.
“They are infused with lavender essential oils so it has really calming properties,” she continued. “There are different ways you can fold it in and out. You can fold it out as a mattress, you can fold it like a little futon, a chair. We are really excited that we get to help people out.”
“A couple months back they reached out to CAPSA about this awesome program,” said Megan Thatcher, volunteer coordinator and community management manager for CAPSA. “What is unique about that call is that I had five requests about mattresses, needing them for families transitioning out of our shelter.
“I was ecstatic that this was something we could partner with them and be able to provide that sleep for people transitioning out of our shelter.”
The fold-up mattresses have a label on them where someone can write his or her name. Katie Stringham, development support coordinator for CAPSA, said giving these mattresses to individuals fleeing abuse is a really big deal.
“Most of our survivors don’t have anything to their name when they come,” Stringham explained. “We had a family that literally did not have shoes. The abusive spouse in that situation was just locking them up in the closet and they had to have the shoes checked out before they leave and go anywhere. When they saw an opportunity they just left without shoes.
“They don’t even have shoes, they often don’t have clothes, they don’t have documentation of any sort for jobs, a birth certificate for school. So the fact that they could have anything they could take with them to call theirs and have forever is huge.”
Having the beds infused with lavender essential oils is also helpful, Stringham continued, because it helps people relax.
“I know CAPSA is a wonderful place, but you can imagine how difficult it is to have your family often torn apart it seems, change of location, to be taken away from your home,” she explained. “All those troubles you are away from, but not mentally. To have that cool, calming lavender in the bed helps people relax. It helps the tension and memories roll off the shoulders and ease into sleep.”
“We provide therapy services here at CAPSA,” Thatcher added. “One of the many things we help with is self-care. The lavender is one of those self-care things, it helps you get centered and grounded. Along with that the healing properties of lavender is well known, that it also helps you sleep at night.
“That goes a long way with the healing purposes of a good night’s rest, along with the healing purposes of being grounded that I have a place that is my own.”
Chambers said that DownEast store locations throughout Utah and three other states are forming similar partnerships and plan to give away over 500 mattresses. The Mattress On the Go is not available for purchase in the stores, and Chambers said they are only to be donated.
She said DownEast was not only able to donate several beds to CAPSA, but also to a family that was currently sleeping on concrete in a storage unit. Chambers was able to identify the family through the Bear River Association of Governments and their homeless coordinator. She provided beds for the parents and their two young daughters.
“They will not have to sleep on the concrete tonight or any night until they get settled into wherever they get transitioned into.”