AUSTIN - The SAFE Alliance, an organization that helps men, women and children escape dangerous situations and abusive homes, has seen a big uptick in cries for help from the community.
Each night, the shelter holds about 300 people.
"We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of phone calls needing help,” said Angela Glode, the chief development officer at The SAFE Alliance. "Our need is increasing much faster than we can keep up."
And part of that need includes calls for a safe place to sleep.
"Rest is one of the greatest gifts that we can give the folks that come into our doors,” Glode said. "There's nothing more important than having a safe and clean place to be -- to sleep, to recover."
But when it comes to mattresses, they could use a little help.
"We have a very slim budget, we serve thousands upon thousands of people a year, but we don't have a lot of extra matresses,” Glode said.
She said for years they've been looking for a company to donate new mattresses on an ongoing basis.
"When it comes to those things that we constantly need to be providing for our clients, mattresses is one of the hardest to secure,” Glode said.
Now they have that partner in the mattress store, Sleep Experts.
Sleep Experts is donating 16 mattresses this week, along with $10,000.
"It is so special for us,” said Rhea Olshefsky, Central Texas' regional vice president of sales for Sleep Experts.
Olshefsky said they want to give the gift of sleep.
"Everybody deserves a restful night's sleep, and a really safe place to sleep,” Olshefsky said.
Glode said she appreciates the ongoing relationship.
"We've had several companies be willing to make a onetime donation -- or write a onetime check -- but having an ongoing partnership is the key to making this kind of program really work,” Glode said.
"There's thousands of clients every year that move from really dangerous situations, into these various programs and every single one of them needs a mattress, and so for our organization to be able to purchase those, it's impossible,” said Melinda Cantu, the vice president of housing, healing and support services at SAFE. "So many times it's difficult for a nonprofit organization to have new mattresses and it's important for us to have something that's clean and nice and new and comfortable and having these mattresses is just phenomenal.”
Cantu has worked at SAFE for 27 years and says oftentimes a victim's first night at the Safe Alliance shelter is also their first full night of sleep.
"To be able to offer that to these folks, to these kids, to these women, to these children, to these men, it's something I can't even articulate -- it's huge,” Cantu said.
And when they leave, they can take that mattress with them to start their new life.
"They leave everything behind, and they come to our doors with nothing but a suitcase and what they have on their backs, and they have to start over from scratch,” Glode said.
A new start that always looks a bit brighter with a good night's sleep.
"We're able to serve so many people,” said Cantu. "Every day I get to see these amazing human beings who have overcome really, really horrible situations, and I get to play just a tinsy, winsy part in their amazing success."
If you know someone who needs help, call The Safe Alliance Hotline at 512-267-7233.
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