MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) — One hundred Memphis children will rest easy in brand new beds.
Ashley Home Stores teamed up with Memphis Boys and Girls Club, Memphis Athletic Ministries, and the Refugee Empowerment Program for a day with Coach Mike Norvell and the Memphis Tigers, and it’s a day they’ll be sure to dream about.
“The only thing I heard was we were coming here, and I was excited,” said Kelsey Bowden.
Bowden and 99 other kids were in for a big surprise.
“About 14 years ago is when we started it,” said Arni Capitanelli of Ashley Home Stores.
Capitanelli says the program launched in Memphis first called “One Parent One Dream” is much more than a game.
55,000 thousand beds given to children, the national event now called Hope to Dream gives children a place for sweet dreams. The company’s founder saw a need in the community.
“He had heard about these kids who had no beds, who were sleeping on floors,” said Capitanellie. “Single parent situations, moms working multiple jobs and he said we got to do something.”
They came up with a contest to nominate just one family to be gifted a bed, but that didn’t work.
“Here we are all sitting around the table reading these letters, and we’re just balling,” said Capitenelli.
Today, Hope to Dream events like the one at the Liberty Bowl are held five times a year in Nashville, Detroit, St. Louis, Jackson with events to come in Houston, Texas. Each event gives away 100 beds.
“Being able to give them their own space, their own comfortable space in the room, their own place to sleep that makes a huge impact on how they perform and how they do well and be able to do the things they want,” said Kyle Bennison of Memphis Athletic Ministries.
After some clowning around with Pouncer, the Tiger’s mascot, and tossing the pig skin came the big surprise.
A bed, completely outfitted and a goodie bag with each of their names.
“You just look at these kids and it’s just amazing. It’s absolutely amazing,” said Capitanelli.