Sandra Gonzalez and Jorge Lopez, of Metropolitan Ministries in Brandon, loading beds donated by Ashley HomeStore to Family Promise of Hillsborough County on March 17.

By Linda Chion Kenney

Ten beds were delivered in March to Family Promise of Hillsborough County with more on the way from the Ashley HomeStore furniture store in Brandon, thanks to a national partnership that’s paying local returns.

For over seven years, the ‘Hope To Dream’ drive has given “the gift of sleep” to some 60,000 children nationwide, according to Ashley HomeStore officials, who added that a portion of each mattress purchase at participating locations helps support the drive.

Recognizing that “every child should have a bed to call their own,” the gift, valued at $399, includes a twin mattress, bed frame, bedding and pillow “for a child who might otherwise suffer the negative physical and emotional effects of sleep deprivation.”

Family Promise Executive Director Edwina Reddick said donated beds will be given to rehoused families served by her nonprofit or its active partners, including the 10 beds delivered on March 17, for use by Metropolitan Ministries in Brandon and Forgotten Angels, which serves young adults who age out of the foster care system.

“We’re a homeless network,” Reddick said. “We partner with the faith community, which provides overnight lodging and meals, and we work also with our four active nonprofit partners, including ECHO and the Women’s Resource Center.”

Family Promise is equipped to serve three to four families at one time (up to 14 people) and uses background checks and drug screening to vet its clients. From its day center in Brandon on 201 E. Morgan St., families meet with case managers and are transported to and from churches for overnight lodging. Clients can use the center’s address and phone number for school and employment contacts.

The churches, on a rotating basis, open their doors for overnight lodging and meals, setting up Sunday school classrooms as makeshift bedrooms.

“Each family has their own bedroom, and that’s how we keep families together,” Reddick said. “And they really need to be together. They’re busy during the day looking for jobs or working and evening time is when they come together to plan for what’s next in their lives.”

For more on Family Promise, visit www.familypromisefl.org. Call 681-6170. The Ashley HomeStore in Brandon is located at 2615 Vildibill Dr. Visit www.AshleyFurniture.com.