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South Valley Journal

Community partners help give Jordan School District students good night’s rest

Oct 01, 2022 08:29PM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

About 200 Jordan School District students are sleeping a little better these days, thanks to Jordan Education Foundation and their partnerships.

“We want our students who really need a bed and could be sleeping on the floor, in a car, with other family members, to have one of these beds so they can have a good night’s sleep and are rested so they can better learn in the classroom,” said Lindsay Auld, JEF’s event director. “A lot of our refugee families utilize this because they’re coming with nothing.”

The bed and bedding donation came about from JEF board member Shaun Stevenett, who learned there was a need for it in his community.

For two years, Malouf Home Furniture has donated about 200 beds, Beddy’s donates the all-in-one bed sets, and Walmart donates pillows, blankets and other items.

“This just exploded so quickly, and we love it,” Auld said.

JEF Associate Director Anne Gould said school officials often identify families in need, and some families come forward to schedule a time to get a bed and bedding.

“They know these families and their economic need,” she said. “We don’t necessarily reserve a number per school. It’s really first come, first serve.”

Beddy’s Business Manager Cheryl Sanford said the company out of West Jordan and the owners, Betsy Mikesell and Angie White, got involved because they believe in supporting their community.

“Betsy and Angie are living their own example of giving back in the community, so this is something that they got behind with kids, with Beddy’s, with the community,” Sanford said. “It’s something that they felt strongly in donating to. For me, it’s hard for me to see there are kids without beds and bedding. This is huge and impactful when we’re able to assist and help those kids get a good night’s sleep, which leads to better education. It’s better overall for our community.”

A “beddy” is a one-piece bedding product that includes a sewn-in sheet with a lining, comfort panels, a pillow with a sham and a zipper that encloses or detaches the top completely. It was designed originally for bunk bed use, but has expanded so firefighters, people with disabilities, children with emotional and sensory processing disorders, and the elderly can easily make their beds quickly.

Walmart’s Taylorsville Store Manager Kelley Ellett said this donation drive meant more to her to get involved beyond the company’s core value of giving back to the community.

“I could cry that kids don’t have a bed and blankets. It breaks my heart,” she said, as many of the Walmart associates unloaded truckloads of donations. “This is a big deal, and it makes a difference knowing we made an impact on the children.”

South Jordan Store Manager Kevin Carlile, who has children attend Jordan School District schools, said Walmart “is literally serving the community that supports us.”

“We help with Christmas for kids and donated backpacks and stocked principals’ pantries, and we’ve told Jordan School District to call us if they need us and we’ll be there,” he said. “We want to help as much as we can.”

Those are words and actions from partners that JEF Executive Director Mike Haynes finds gratifying.

“We know we can reach out to them and get help for our students,” he said. “Walmart is involved in many of our events, and Beddy’s, this is their largest donation they've ever made. We couldn’t start this without the generosity of Malouf.”

Getting what students need is the mission of JEF, Haynes said. They have a portable classroom where community partners such as Discover, doTERRA and Costco help to regularly stock with backpacks of school supplies, hygiene kits, food and clothing, which JEF then distributes to students. 

There are even birthday supplies in a box so students can celebrate their special day.

“We don’t want a day to go by when a student doesn’t have what they need,” he said. “That’s why we’re here, to meet those needs and it’s important to us that we involve our community. We’ve got some great community partnerships who have said, ‘if you have needs, come to us.’ We’ve heard where students and families will go without food so they can find their students the right kind of shoes or the right outfit to fit in and don’t stand out. They want to help students have the same opportunities and supplies.”

Gould adds, “The bottom line is if kids don’t have their basic needs met, they can’t learn. That’s where we come in. Hungry kids can’t learn and kids without beds need them so they can get a good night’s sleep and then they’re set to learn.”