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Hillside Mattress Donation Gives Tornado Victims ‘Sweet Sleep’

Belmont University donated 228 full-size mattresses, box springs and bed springs to Oklahoma tornado victims and foster families in the Nashville area on Thursday.

More than 50 volunteers with Sweet Sleep gathered the bed sets from Hillside Apartment buildings and loaded them into two trucks. Belmont previously coordinated the mattress donation with Sweet Sleep, a faith-based nonprofit organization that exists to share God’s love by providing beds to the world’s orphaned and abandoned children.

“Belmont has a desire to treat the environment with care, so simply throwing away the mattress was not an option. We were looking for other ways to re-purpose them, and donating them to an organization that could put them to good use, like giving them to children in the foster care system and to disaster victim, fits with Belmont’s mission of influencing the community in a positive way,” said Hillside Residence Director Hannah Aschliman.

Sweet Sleep President and Founder Jennifer Gash said the organization arranged to put many of the mattresses in storage before the tornadoes hit Oklahoma’s suburbs on Monday, causing more than $2 billion in damage, damaging or destroying more than 1,200 homes and killing at least 24 people. She called the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, which had an “overwhelming need for mattresses. We lifted such a large burden off them,” Gash said.

Most of Belmont’s bed sets will be driven to Oklahoma. About 45 mattresses will go to Nashville foster families.

“(The mattresses are) a vehicle to be able to share the Gospel. You have to meet the physical needs while also meeting the spiritual needs,” said Sweet Sleep Global Ministry Director Madelene Metcalf. Sweet Sleep promotes family restoration, she said, and clean bedding promotes a child’s permanence in his family. Many of the children the organization has worked with through departments of health and children’s services throughout the country are sleeping in dirty recliners or on floor palettes.

Sweet Sleep also is collecting full size fitted and flat sheets, standard size pillows, pillow protectors, children’s pajamas, onesies, new cribs, pack and plays, receiving blankets, baby wipes, new car seats, diapers and water for the tornado victims. Donations can be dropped off at the West Nashville Dream Center or Cool Springs Galleria between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on May 24 and 25.

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