The Northeast non-profit company, My Very Own Bed (MVOB), has had to change the way they operate since the beginning of the pandemic. Michael Allen founded this nonprofit in 2014 and the goal was to “provide a new twin size bed and a dream kit (which includes mattress pad, sheets, pillow, blanket, a book and stuffed animal) to children moving into stable housing.” Providing a bed to children not only gives them a safe space to call their own but provides better sleep which in turn leads to better health and better performance in learning.
There has been an increase in the demand for beds since the beginning of the pandemic. In the past, volunteers would deliver and set up the beds in the clients’ homes and spend about 30 minutes chatting about the benefits of a good night’s sleep. In March, those volunteers were told to stay home as Allen needed to protect them as well as the family homes they were going into. New protocols were set up and since then a few volunteers have returned.
Beds and dream kits are now dropped off at the front door of the families in need and MVOB sends them a YouTube link on how the put the beds together. Sleep education is an essential part of this gift and MVOB is working on tangible items that are included in the dropoff since the one-on-one conversations can no longer occur.
The manufacturer who made the first mattresses had to shut down for six weeks at the beginning of pandemic. The need for beds continued so Allen had to find a new manufacturer. In an upside, the new bed design is now a platform style that is highly mobile, easy to move and store, along with a better mattress.
There used to be donation boxes set up in local business where people could drop off items for dream kits, but that has also changed. Now you can go online, find the gift registry of needed items at Amazon at https://amzn.to/3eELNEK and have items shipped directly to MVOB.
The annual budget is on track for the year, but Allen expects an increased need for beds this fall and winter, especially if evictions start to occur. MVOB expects to deliver more than 900 beds by the end of this year, up from 676 in 2019. Corporate donations from the Richard M. Schulze Foundation help – but individual support is crucial to the success of this organization.
A virtual fundraiser will be held this year instead of the usual live event. The 7th Annual Beds and Bluegrass Fundraiser will be held on Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. The live-streamed event will be an evening of music, a silent auction and entertainment. My Very Own Bed has partnered with Kieran’s Kitchen, Tattersall Distilling and Dangerous Man Brewing for pick up food and drink specials. The goal is to raise $50,000. Neighborhood support is vital to success and this is a way to support local businesses as well. Go to www.myveryownbed.org for event registration.
Below: Michael Allen in various activities with the nonprofit My Very Own Bed. (Provided photos )