USA 2020: Sweet Dream Makers / The Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County

Delegate: Sweet Dream Makers

Affiliations: The Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County is a partner on this activity.

Short Bio: Founded in 2016, Sweet Dream Makers delivers new beds, at no cost, to children and families sleeping on the floor, sharing beds, or sleeping in unsafe, unsanitary conditions in Palm Beach County.

Activity: In 2020 Sweet Dream Makers is promoting healthy sleep for the most vulnerable members of our community by providing new beds and bedding each month to children and families in need in Palm Beach County. To further promote the health and wellness of the people we serve, this year we are partnering with the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach Council to raise awareness about bed bugs and steps that can be taken to mitigate an infestation.

At-risk families are less likely to be able to afford a new bed or mattress, which can cost hundreds of dollars, should the need arise. According to a recent study conducted by the United Way of Palm Beach County, 47% of families in Palm Beach County live below the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) threshold for cost of living, and 17% of people live in outright poverty. Correspondingly, Sweet Dream Makers receives an average of 200+ requests each month from social service providers who meet families that are sleeping on floors, couches, sharing small mattresses, or in other unsafe, unsanitary, or inappropriate conditions. Thanks to our generous community of supporters, we have been able to answer every request we have received.

In our years of service to the community, we have found that bed bugs are a significant – and also preventable – reason that families lose their beds. In 2020, we partnered with the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County to counteract this threat to healthy sleep through two efforts.

– First, we are providing 1,290 mattress, box spring, and pillow encasements to families we serve, which protect against bed bugs and can mitigate low-level infestations.
– Second, we have created a friendly, easy to understand information sheet based on recommendations from the CDC on how to identify and treat bed bugs.

We have met with officials from the Palm Beach County School District and School Health Department, which have received our flier enthusiastically. With their support, we have begun distributing to school health clinics throughout the county. We are in the process of translating this sheet into Spanish, Portuguese, and Creole.

By providing new beds, bedding, and mattress protectors to families we serve, and creating a public awareness campaign about bed bugs, we are supporting healthy sleep and wellness for our community’s most vulnerable members.

Location: Palm Beach County, Florida

Date of Activity: January through March, 2020

Submitted By: Suzanne Broad