Many social service agencies in the Philadelphia area help low-income families obtain housing, but few can help families turn their housing into functional homes. As a result, children are forced to sleep on the floor, on sofas, or crowded into bed with several family members. Sleeping arrangements such as these often lead to poor sleep, which goes hand-in-hand with poor health and poor school performance. OHAAT’s Beds for Kids program delivers beds, bedding, and tools that encourage healthy bedtime habits like books and toothbrushes, directly to the homes of children in need. With beds of their very own, children can get the quality and sufficient sleep they need to thrive.
In order to qualify for Beds for Kids, children must be between ages 2 and 20 and reside in a household whose income is below the US poverty threshold. Many of the children in our program are transitioning from shelters or other temporary housing; some are recovering from catastrophes such as fires or floods; and others have been sleeping without a bed their whole lives. (We occasionally hear children say that they’ve never had a bed of their own.)
Every child in the program receives a new bed and a bedtime bag, which contains a set of sheets, a blanket, a pillow, several books, and a toothbrush. Children also have the opportunity to pick out a handmade pillow case and a stuffed animal when volunteers deliver the beds to their home. OHAAT purchases beds and bedding in bulk from various manufacturers, and partner organizations donate bedding and bedtime items through collection drives. All of the items are sorted, packaged, and delivered by OHAAT’s sixteen-foot box truck and growing body of volunteers.