In mattress industry, charity begins in the bedroom

Julie A. Palm

Julie Palm, editor in chief

When a friend is diagnosed with cancer, we look for ways to offer comfort and healing. We sit at her bedside, send flowers, say prayers and deliver casseroles.

When monster tornadoes decimated communities around Oklahoma City in May and June, residents and first responders alike rushed to broken schools and homes, looking for survivors. Neighbors later banded together to begin the long rebuilding process.

Whether those in need are dear friends or complete strangers, it’s one of the hallmarks of humanity that when others are suffering, we reach out to help.

The sleep products industry is especially generous when it comes to aiding those in need. And we are in a special position to do so. Whether you’ve just lost everything in a flood or are fleeing domestic violence, a comfortable new mattress and a fresh set of pillows and linens can provide an invaluable measure of comfort and security. When you are facing adversity, a good night’s sleep is not a luxury—it’s vital to recovering a sense of normality and well-being.

At BedTimes, we regularly report on companies that have donated mattresses and sleep accessories to charities and other groups, such as firefighters. The industry doesn’t only donate products. Every year, mattress producers, retailers and suppliers raise money for good causes with events such as the Ante 4 Autism poker tournament held during the Las Vegas Market and the Seena Magowitz golf tournament, which raised more than $600,000 for pancreatic cancer research in 2012. Retailer Sleep Train devotes its charitable efforts to helping foster children, holding drives throughout the year for items such as school supplies and pajamas and sponsoring other events to raise money for needy kids.

To be sure, companies that make such donations receive benefits from their charitable efforts. They may earn tax breaks, dispose of comfort returns or discontinued models, and earn good publicity. But none of that discounts the value of the philanthropy itself.

It is good to know that when the next family loses its home to a fire or the next group that aids the parents of ill children needs support, the mattress industry will be among the first to step forward to help.

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