JANESVILLE, Wisconsin— Mercyhealth Development Foundation, members of the 2018-2019 Leadership Development Academy of Rock County (LDA) class and Ashley HomeFurniture raised and/or donated ($14,414 in value) to purchase new bed frames and mattresses for the House of Mercy Homeless Center.
“Our group was tasked with performing a community service project,” said Stephen Cardwell, LDA participant. “One chilly night back in December, when we were discussing ideas, we happened to be approached by two homeless men looking for shelter that night. That interaction really left a lasting impression and we decided we needed to do something to help those facing homelessness in our area.”
The House of Mercy, located in Janesville, is a 28-bed homeless center that provides families throughout southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois with short-term emergency shelter. The LDA group (Team Rock United), collaborated with Tammie King-Johnson, Manager of the House of Mercy, to learn more about the Center and its needs. Since its opening in 1996, the center still has the original wooden bed frames that have been used by over 6,609 individuals.
“Homelessness implies more than simply lacking physical necessities; it can also have a debilitating effect on a person’s mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. People who are homeless deal with circumstances that most of us can hardly imagine,” said King-Johnson. After learning that the Center’s mattresses had been updated recently but the wooden bed frames had not, the team concentrated their focus on updating the wooden bed frames with new, longer-lasting metal frames and vinyl mattress covers to preserve the longevity of the mattresses.
“The place that we lay our heads at night is really important to our overall health. The bedframes and accessories that will be purchased through the efforts of team Rock United will improve our sleeping quarters as they are designed to last longer with increased comfort that will allow for more living space,” King-Johnson said.
The 20 bed frames and mattresses, were delivered on Wednesday, September 18. In order to not displace any residents during that time, it was important that the delivery, assembly and disposal of the old frames and beds be done in less than one day.
“We live in an area where there are far too many people suffering from unstable housing, and they need to have access to an emergency shelter. Sometimes one family room can have as many as 7 occupants. There will be many benefits to the new beds,” King-Johnson concluded. “The entire day went more smoothly than we could have ever anticipated,” said Bobbie Ennocenti, of First Community Credit Union. “Our team of amazing volunteers from RSM Financial, Stephen Cardwell and the LDA class disassembled and removed 16 beds and cleaned the rooms a little to prepare for the assembling and installation of the new beds. Tammie King-Johnson and the House of Mercy staff were very accommodating, welcoming and appreciative. Also, a big thank you to Thrivent for providing us lunch as we needed the extra boost to finish installing the last of the beds.”
Team Rock United is comprised of local professionals from six different organizations/businesses including: Stephen Cardwell, Foremost Media; Katie Crist, United Way Blackhawk Region; Bobbie Ennocenti, First Community Credit Union; John Kaminski, School District of Beloit; Lamikka James, Rock/Walworth County Head Start; and Jodine Saunders, City of Beloit.
About LDA: The Leadership Development Academy is a 501c3 and premier leadership organization that empowers future leaders to create a better place to live. Its mission is to inspire to build and strengthen our community through the values of leadership, excellence, diversity, teamwork, awareness and integrity. One of the focuses of LDA is to familiarize participants with the people, businesses and organizations that most profoundly impact Rock County. Each year, a new group of LDA participants are selected from a variety of Rock County organizations and businesses to engage in professional development and community service projects.
About Ashley HomeStore and Hope to Dream: Ashley HomeStore is committed to being your trusted partner and style leader for the home. This commitment has made Ashley HomeStore the No. 1 furniture retailer in the U.S. and one of the world’s best-selling furniture store brands with more than 900 locations in 54 countries. Founded in 2010 on that guiding principle, Ashley HomeStore’s “Hope to Dream” program provides beds to less fortunate children across the U.S. and Canada. A portion of the proceeds for every mattress purchased at a participating Ashley HomeStore helps pay for a bed for a child in need. Since its inception, more than 80,000 children have received a brand-new bed. Those wishing to nominate a child can visit https://www.ashleyfurniturehomestore.com/a-hope-to-dream/ or request an electronic application by emailing HopetoDream@ashleyhomestore.com. In-store applications are also available at participating locations.