By GABRIELLA CRUZ-MARTÍNEZ
Friends of Ray Parent Teacher Organization sprung into the fundraising spirit on Sunday by hosting its first community mattress sale event in partnership with “Just Get Sleep!”, a for-profit group that has turned the purchase of a new mattress into a powerful fundraising vehicle and learning experience for charities, non-for-profits, and schools across Chicago.
During the event, William H. Ray Elementary School, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave., transformed its school cafeteria into a mattress showroom with over 20 mattresses on display from top brands such as TempurPedic, Serta, and Beautyrest Black at discount prices from 30 to 50 percent off for community members. Ray Elementary would receive 15 to 20 percent donation per sale.
According to Joe Armetta, owner of the JGS program, customers could either direct 100 percent of the donation to a specific group (like Ray Elementary), or ask that it be split amongst multiple groups. Proceeds would then be divided to groups that were not only committed to Human Resources on the day of the event, but also executed all aspects/steps of the recommended marketing and PR plan to their databases.
As of Herald press time, Armetta said he estimated proceeds from the event had reached around $5,000 for Ray.
Additional discount prices were offered to teachers, administration, staff, Friends of members and Chicago Public Schools employees from local schools like Bret Harte Elementary, Kozminski Elementary, Shoesmith Elementary with savings up to $200 on mattresses anywhere between $250 to above $1,000.
“Our bigger long-term goal is not to just be a mattress fundraising company,” said Joe Armetta, owner of the JGS program. “The health and wellness of kids is being so driven by nutrition, yet sleep is this massive thing that underlies all of it. I really want to focus on sleep as a pillar of wellness, I’d like to get the story of sleep into the curriculum and the week leading up to our events would be focused on sleep and the importance of getting rest – and as a result of that, you would have the pinnacle of that experience with the mattress sale.”
Throughout the event, children as well as adults were encouraged to try out their future beds.
According to Armetta, “Just Get Sleep!” has partnered with 24 CPS schools to-date and has been active in Illinois for about 15 months. The group works directly with “Friends of” organizations with a 501c3 status as they have more autonomy organizing fundraising events and choose how the proceeds can help improve the school experience for children. The organization is also active in Los Angeles and Columbus, Ohio.
Armetta said he looked forward to expanding his partnership with more local schools in the near future.