Workers assemble one of the two beds at the house after delivering it. Store manager Zach Miller said beds were delivered to 27 children in Liberal, Plains, Hugoton and Forgan, Oklahoma, as part of the program. L&T photo/Robert Pierce
By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
Christmas Eve is Saturday, and that means children all over the world will have visions of sugar plums dancing in their hands as they enjoy a long winter’s nap.
Thanks to Liberal’s Ashley Furniture store, some area children will be doing so on a new mattress. Through the company’s Hope to Dream program, Ashley gives boys and girls who are in need of a bed a new one.
“Anytime we sell a mattress, portions of that sale go towards the program,” said Zach Miller, manager of Liberal’s Ashley store.
Ashley likewise has a mattress called Hope to Dream, and Miller said when one of those are sold, a new mattress is automatically given to a child.
Miller said dozens of beds were ordered for the program, and Ashley received nominations from the internet from school counselors and people in Liberal and surrounding communities telling of young people in need of beds.
“From there, we kind of did an interview process and selected some kids that we thought were the most deserving, most needy and schedule deliveries for them,” he said.
Miller said children from age 3 to 16 are eligible for the Hope to Dream program. This was the first year Liberal’s Ashley store was part of the event, and Miller said 27 new beds were given out.
Miller said fellow manager Kevin Lam went out on some of the deliveries last Friday, and along with Ashley’s delivery guys, he saw plenty of excitement from the children who got some of the beds.
In Liberal’s first attempt at Hope to Dream, Miller said beds were given to young people in not only Liberal, but nearby Plains, Hugoton and Forgan, Oklahoma, as well.
“We’re going to be doing this at least twice a year, maybe three times,” he said. “We gave away 27 just because it was our first time. In the future, we’ll be doing it more often and try to reach out into some other communities as well.”
Miller said those wishing to nominate a child for Hope to Dream can go to the website www.ahopetodream.com or come to the store at 529 S. Kansas in Liberal.
The local effort to bring a better place to sleep for young people is just part of what Ashley has been doing across the U.S., including efforts by NFL teams in Dallas and Jacksonville, Florida.
“A lot of communities have been doing it,” Miller said. “Wichita did one a couple of weeks ago. It’s starting to grow into a bigger deal, which is good.”
Though this is Liberal’s first time with Hope to Dream, Miller said beds that have been ordered have been accrued since the store’s opening about two years ago.
“We added all that up and took all that into account,” he said.
And what better gift to give a child for Christmas than that of a restful night’s sleep as those visions of sugar plums continue to dance in their heads.
“The timing of it, a week before Christmas, we thought was good to get some of these kids that might not have any other Christmas presents a new bed,” Miller said.