Residents of the Minot YWCA women's shelter will sleep more soundly thanks to an early Christmas present from two Minot furniture stores.
Donations from I. Keating Furniture World and Slumberland this month will enable the YWCA to replace existing mattresses and offer more beds to homeless women and their children. The YWCA also is gearing up for a major fundraising event to take place on Valentine's Day.
The YWCA provides temporary shelter to homeless women and children in Minot.
Jeff Andelin carries a mattress from the I. Keatings truck during delivery to the Minot YWCA Dec. 5.
Residence director Linda Randolph said she was overwhelmed by the generosity when she presented the YWCA's need for mattresses to local suppliers. I. Keatings delivered 10 twin and three double mattresses with box springs on Dec. 5. Slumberland delivered five frames and mattresses sets for a queen, a double and five twin beds on Dec. 13.
In addition to its six transitional apartments, the YWCA has five rooms for temporary housing on the lower level. It is adding two shelter rooms on the main floor, where it formerly operated a child-care center.
Randolph said the additions will enable the YWCA can accommodate up to 20 women in its shelter if the women have no children. But most shelter residents are mothers. The shelter recently had 11 mothers with nine children ages five months to 9.
Slumberland teams with Community Action to provide beds for kids
Twelve children are receiving beds just before Christmas through a joint venture of Community Action Partnership and Slumberland in Minot.
Willy Soderholm, executive director at Community Action, said Slumberland has collaborated with his agency since 2006 to provide up to 12 twin beds each year for children of low-income clients. This year, Slumberland provided the dozen beds.
"It's a fantastic program," Soderholm said. "What we find with the high cost of rent and high cost of food is sometimes having a bed for your child might be one of the things that isn't really a necessity. The important thing is to get a roof over your head and food on the table," he said. "To be able to provide a bed for these kids is great. The feedback that we get is just amazing. A lot of times this might be the only bed that child has ever had."
Due to Minot's tight and expensive housing market, some women have stayed as long as six or seven months in the shelter.
"They can stay here as long as they need to," Randolph said. "The majority of them work, but they can't afford the rent."
The YWCA charges a small amount of rent after a woman's first week of stay.
The YWCA could house more women if it had the space, said Randolph, who noted she gets calls every day asking about vacancies.
Although the bed needs have been handled, the YWCA welcomes other assistance from the public. Commonly needed donations include laundry soap, cleaning and bathroom supplies. The YWCA also needs dressers and window curtains for the two new shelter rooms.
In February, the YWCA will be asking for the community's help in a fundraiser sponsored by the Dakota Medical Foundation and Impact Foundation. The foundations have sponsored the online Giving Hearts Day on Feb. 14 for the past five years. Last year, 10,850 donations generated more than $1.6 million and a $504,207 match from Dakota Medical Foundation and other community donors for the 140 charities.
For a 24-hour period on Feb. 14, people can log onto (impactgiveback.org) and any donation of $10 or more to organizations of their choice are matched. Dakota Medical Foundation also awards incentives to the top 10 fundraising charities.
Last year, the program expanded from eastern North Dakota to the Bismarck area. This coming year, it will expand to the Minot area. In all, 171 charities are expected to take part, according to Impact Foundation. Minot participants so far include the YWCA, Minot Public School Foundation, Domestic Violence Crisis Center, Minot Area Community Foundation and Kalix, formerly Minot Vocational Workshop.
Sana Keller, promotions chairman for the YWCA, said said the organization is working with the Minot Downtown Business and Professional Association to obtain a local matching contribution. Downtown businesses are being asked to participate in a matching fund of at least $4,000 and to work with the YWCA in promoting both downtown shopping for Valentine's Day and the Giving Hearts Day website.
Keller said the goal is to let people know of the service the YWCA provides in the community through its shelter and enlist their help in meeting the needs.
"We know we can do so much more. We have big dreams," she said.
The YWCA also has a membership drive currently under way and has an endowment fund that accepts contributions. North Dakota allows a state income tax credit of up to 40 percent of a charitable donation greater than $5,000 through cash or deferred gift to qualified endowment. For information on membership or making a donation, people can contact the YWCA at 838-1812.