PHOENIX - A good night's sleep is crucial in having a successful day, but not everyone has that privilege. Some sleep on floors, others in cars.
One Arizona couple realized a few years ago that too many children in Arizona suffer in those conditions, and now they're helping them thrive one mattress at a time.
Teri Vogel and her husband Steve co-founded Thrive Arizona in 2016. The organization is partnered with the Arizona Dept. of Child Safety and is a foster care prevention and reunification program. They work with DCS to help children stay at home by providing basic needs like mattresses and bedding.
"Since we started back in 2016, we have given out over 2500 beds," said Vogel. "In the last year or so, it's been between 100 and 150 beds a month."
Steve says the statistics are staggering - research shows children without access to good quality sleep are 87% more likely to drop out of school, 67% more likely to struggle with depression and 4 times as likely to attempt suicide.
The Vogels say they knew a family with nine kids and were sleeping in two cars after the husband had died.
"We were able to help her get a job, we were able to get her a safe place to sleep, and then we provided all of those kids with brand new mattresses," Vogel said.
Since the pandemic hit, Thrive Arizona has seen an almost 50% increase in bed requests for children and a 50% reduction in donations.
"A lot of our families are the families that are working at the gyms, fast food restaurants or the hotels, so they have lost their jobs," said Vogel. "The need has...increased."
The Vogels say it can be difficult for struggling families to get back on their feet because of the constant demands of everyday life.
"Sometimes it's, 'Do I get food on the table?' But 'We need a couch,' or 'We even need just a bed to sleep in at night,'" Vogel explained. "You are trying to maneuver everything you can and you don't have the answers and you need help."
The Vogels went from working out of a home office to a 3,000 square foot warehouse, complete with two trucks to deliver mattresses and furniture.
On Dec. 1, online mattress retailer Leesa Sleep will donate brand new mattresses to help Thrive continue its mission - and you can help as well.
Until Nov. 30, you can participate in the One Bedless Night Challenge. Participants are asked to forego the comfort of their own beds and sleep on a floor or couch. Share your experience on social media with the hashtag #1BedlessNight and Leesa will donate a brand new bed to a child in need for every participant.
Learn more: https://www.leesa.com/pages/1-bedless-night
More on Thrive Arizona: https://www.thriveaz.org/