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Local Slumberland store donates 74 beds to kids in need

Caleb White, right, of Slumberland Furniture helps load beds Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, at the West Fargo store to be delivered by Knights of Columbus volunteer Arnie Strand as part of an annual program that gave 74 beds to area children in need this year. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

WEST FARGO—Volunteers woke up early Monday, Dec. 11, to start their work at Slumberland Furniture, and Derick Vettleson said everyone would be ready for a good night's sleep by the time the day was over.

In the process, their time and work made it possible to give that same gift—a good night's sleep—to 74 kids in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

About three dozen people were at the store, 1150 17th St. E., for a quick pep talk before loading up mattresses, box springs, quilts and bedding.

Vettleson, general manager of Slumberland's stores in West Fargo and Dilworth, said it's the 23rd year local stores have done their Making Homes for the Holidays event. The Slumberland brand, which has 127 stores in 12 states, aims to donate about 2,000 mattress sets to kids this holiday season.

It's made possible through the financial support of the company's owners and private donors, such as a local person who recently gave $2,000 that will help fund bed sets for the 2018 holiday season.

But it also requires the time and effort of local Slumberland employees, not to mention assistance from the Fargo Salvation Army, which finds kids in need who will get the beds, and manpower from Knights of Columbus volunteers who loaded up vehicles and helped deliver beds across the community.

Vettleson said that team effort has helped the event get bigger each year. Over the past 23 years, Slumberland has donated nearly 900 bed sets in the Fargo-Moorhead area, he said.

"Getting people involved and getting our word out has helped us to get more beds to more kids in this community," he said.

Helping out

Major Byron Medlock said the Salvation Army sends out forms to local schools and social organizations each year asking for names of children who could benefit from a new bed. For many, it would be their first bed—and without it, they'd have to continue sleeping on the couch, sharing a mattress with several siblings or just making do with a blanket on the floor.

Salvation Army officials then went through each application and appeal letter, picking the neediest of the more than 100 requests they got in 2017 to pick the 74 kids who would benefit.

In addition to a bed set, recipients also get sheets and pillows donated by Walmart as well as a handmade quilt made by Shirley Hill and other volunteers.

Hill made about 30 quilts this year, and she's already started on the batch she'll donate in 2018. She got involved with the program when her daughter, Vicki Meyer, began making quilts for each kid about seven years ago and asked her mother to continue the work shortly before she died in December 2015 from cancer.

"I enjoy it, and I know the kids are going to really enjoy getting a nice quilt to go with their bed," Hill said.

Medlock said it's impossible to say yes to every request for a bed, so only the neediest families can be helped.

"That's the hard part," he said.

Still, he said this team effort has a lasting impact on dozens of families through the power of a piece of furniture that's usually taken for granted. A bed is hardly the kind of gift that most kids would put on a wish list, but Medlock said recipients are enthusiastic.

"We delivered one bed and the kid stayed home from school for that," he said. "They wanted to see it. They were excited and they did a dance for the people who brought it in."

Vettleson said a comfortable bed can help kids get better sleep, which can help them be healthier, happier and do better in school.

"Today we're going to donate 74 sets, and you're going to give a good night's sleep to 74 kids," he said to volunteers before they started delivering.

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson has been a Forum reporter since 2012 and previously wrote for the Grand Forks Herald.

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