With the holidays approaching, the Tuft & Needle company is giving back to the community by launching an online social movement to provide children living in foster homes with the comfort of a bed.
Daehee Park and John-Thomas Marino,who both studied at Penn State, founded Tuft & Needle. The online store opened in June 2012.
“We founded Tuft & Needle with the mission of making a good night’s sleep available to everyone,” Park, Class of 2009, wrote in an email.
Tuft & Needle is a minimalist bed company that sells the ShikiBed, a Japanese shikibuton made from natural cotton.
Since the company engages directly with its customers through the website, they are able to sell “boutique-quality, beautifully crafted beds at a fraction of the price,” Park wrote.
However, “our primary goal is social impact as opposed to retail sales,” he wrote.
The company is launching a social movement in January, which will allow people to donate funds to provide foster children with quality beds.
“We’ve designed a special giving bed that can be manufactured and shipped anywhere in the U.S. at cost –– we’re trying to keep it under $100,” Park wrote.
Tuft & Needle established connections with the Crisis Nursery children’s shelter, Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation and Arizona’s Child Protective Services in the Phoenix area to pilot the program, he said.
According to the Tuft & Needle website, they have identified 1,512 foster children in desperate need of a bed in the downtown Phoenix area. They hope to deliver beds to each of these children by June 17, 2013.
“You’ll be able to go to our website and donate a bed — or even a percentage of one — with full transparency into where the bed goes. Once a bed’s donation is complete, we can make it within two to three days, and then ship it directly to the child,” he wrote.
But there’s more to it than just supplying beds.
“This is more than getting them off the floor, it’s a symbol that someone out there loves them. It’s important for a child to feel loved and to sleep well,” Marino, who left Penn State in his third year to pursue a job opportunity, wrote in an email.
Jonathan Basso, a student organizer for the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week at Penn State, believes in the importance of being aware of social issues.
Being involved in social change is key, and it helps develop not only the community but also betters the people involved in making the changes, Basso (senior- rehabilitation and human services) said.
“Our country is rife with children deprived of basic rights like comfort, safety and sleep, and we’re doing our best to solve it,” Park wrote.