By: Diane FeenContributing Writer
Suzanne Broad was volunteering in the food pantry at Boca Helping Hands when she heard about a family in East Boca that only had one bed. The problematic part of this story is that the mother and three children all slept in the same bed.
“When police officer Roz told me about this young woman and her three children sleeping in one bed I jumped into action and called friends. We were able to fill the house with furniture and three new beds,” said Sweet Dream Makers Executive Director Broad.
Broad and her friends rented a truck, got clothing, dishes and desks and delivered them to the family. “As a Co-Chair of the Giving Tree of Temple Beth El I saw first-hand the overwhelming need for beds in our community.”
That was ten years ago. At that time the non-profit organization was called “Sweet Dreams of The Giving Tree of Temple Beth El.” But like all good ventures – change becomes part of the equation when the time is right. That time was September 2016.
It was then that Broad created an independently run 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called “Sweet Dream Makers” that provides new beds, bedding and essential furnishings for children and families in need.
Surprisingly, the need is far greater than most people in Palm Beach County might think. “The first year we gave away 40 beds and in 2017 we gave away 925. But the need for beds in Palm Beach County is much greater,” adds Broad.
To the surprise of many, there are hundreds of families in Palm Beach County that get referred to Sweet Dream Makers each year because they’re struggling to provide for their families. Social Service agencies and community organizations who work with children and families see the desperate need for beds, bedding and essential furniture.
Some have lost everything because of bed bugs, others are unemployed or are the working poor. Add that to the need from migrant workers, victims of domestic violence, the disabled, elderly or those previously homeless, and you have a lot of people in our area in need of beds and bedding.
A few of the saviors in these mattress matters are City Mattress and Mattress Firm. They deliver the beds and set them up (frame, box spring and mattress), but the only caveat is that the average price for a new bed with bedding is $250.
That is the reason that “Sweet Dream Makers” needs more angels to donate to this non-profit organization. “You can change a life by providing a bed and bedding for a child. It’s the gift that keeps on giving night after night for years to come,” adds Broad.
If you have gently used furniture (free of stains and rips) you can donate it and Sweet Dream Makers will schedule a pick up in the Boca or Delray area.
They welcome Twin, Full, Queen and Toddler Beds, living room furniture, Sleep Sofas, Dining Tables and chairs, Bedroom furniture and dressers, small desks and chairs, Lamps, Housewares and small appliances. Also needed are towels and bathroom accessories, bedding (new pillows), Bed Frames and electric washing machines and dryers.
Sweet Dream Makers also needs Volunteers in their warehouse to organize donations, repair furniture and meet families. They also need volunteers to clean and repair furniture, organize and clean housewares, sort, fold and package bedding, move furniture and help pick up furniture from local donors.
“No other organization fills this need because it’s not something that people think about. There are people sleeping on the floor and others who resort to bringing mattresses in from the dumpster that are unsanitary and have bed bugs. Even people with minimum wage jobs can’t provide for their families. The need is so much greater than I can satisfy. Case managers call me all the time. Our mission is to get kids off the floor and into a bed.”
To reach Sweet Dream Makers: 55 NE 5th Ave., Suite 400 Boca Raton, FL 33432, Warehouse: 445 SE 1st Ave #B, Delray Beach, FL 33444, 561-571-SDM3 or firstname.lastname@example.org