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Ben Smith and Amber Kozisek, who both work at the Polk County Resource Center, haul in a donated bed last year.

DALLAS — Last summer, the Polk County Resource Center was able to offer 100 beds to over 100 individuals and families who could not otherwise afford one.

This year, the PCRC is rolling out the project for the second time.

The campaign officially started two weeks ago, and will continue until right before Labor Day.

“We wanted to kick off the campaign at the beginning of summer,” said Amber Kozisek, a Family Resource Navigator at PCRC, “and hopefully have it wrapped up by end of summer so we can get kids sleeping on beds before the school year starts.”

Only new beds are accepted, with twin beds being the size most often requested. Cash donations are also accepted. Anyone, from individuals to businesses and churches, can donate.

Every donation is tax-deductible and is given a tax I.D. number, a letter and a receipt.

“People can drop off mattresses to the resource center,” Kozisek said. “If people need us to pick it up, like if they go and buy it and have it delivered to their house, we will go pick it up. We are willing to do whatever we need to do to get beds in our warehouse. The mattresses in a box that you can order off of Amazon or Walmart, those are the most convenient for us to store before we give them away, but honestly we are not picky. We will literally take anything.”

Last year was the first year the campaign was started, and it was successful.

“We met our goal of 100 beds in 100 days,” Kozisek said. “We received cash donations of over $5,000, and 28 mattresses. We also had donations of some new box springs and frames. The cash donations came from various community members: Polk County Commissioners, Dallas Rotary, a rummage sale hosted by the Itemizer-Observer, and we even received a cash donation from a company in California called Prism Electronics. We were able to purchase and give away enough mattresses to put us over the 100 beds goal.”

Shawn Smith, a recipient from last year’s campaign, received three beds for himself and his two young sons as they transitioned into a new apartment.

“I was going through a divorce … and I was couch-surfing, and then DHS sent me over to the resource center,” he said. “They’re really good people over there.”

With the help of the center, Smith was put into an apartment where he and his sons now live.

In addition to the beds, he said the PCRC paid his deposit, and “gave us some dishes and silverware, that kind of stuff, a couple couches. When I first went in there (PCRC), I was down and out, but now I’m doing all right.”

He said it can be hard to accept help, but to just do it anyway.

“Go in and talk to someone,” Smith said. “Go in there and tell them your situation, and I’m sure they’ll do what they can to help you. Just swallow your pride and go in there and do it. They’re good people, and they will help you, for sure.”

Many times, a family who has been able to transition into a new home or apartment will be unable to afford a bed, like Smith in his situation.

That’s why the “100 beds in 100 days” campaign was started.

“It was a collaborative idea through our resource center,” Kozisek said. “We have a home goods warehouse, where we take donations in on the first Saturday of every month, and we also send donations out on the first Saturday of every month. So we are just turning around community donations and giving them back out to people in need in the community. One of our biggest requests is mattresses and, unfortunately, because we only take donations of new mattresses, it was our hardest need to fill, so we sat down as a group and had a brainstorm of, ‘how can we get mattresses coming in the door?’ and we came up with 100 beds in 100 days. It was super successful last year; the mattresses lasted us almost the entire year, but now we’re back to having no mattresses.”

For those who are in need, Kozisek said they can come by the home goods warehouse, which is across from Salem Health West Valley, on the first Saturday of every month, open from 9 a.m. to noon.

Or they can come to the PCRC and put in a request. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For questions about the campaign, contact Amber Kozisek at: amber.kozisek@co.polk.or.us or 503-623-9664 x2116.

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