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Hutchinson’s Overnight Shelter to Receive Gift of New Beds for Christmas

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By United Way of Reno County

 

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The Noel Lodge, an emergency daytime and overnight shelter for those experiencing homelessness in Hutchinson, is set to receive a donation of 25 new beds and frames from a local business just in time for Christmas.

Last month, despite various preventative protocols, the shelter experienced a major bed bug infestation. After several attempts to remedy the situation, a hard decision was made to discard all mattresses, furniture and carpet.

“Bed bugs love to hide in wood,” said Shara Gonzales, Executive Director of New Beginnings—the non-profit organization that oversees operations at Noel Lodge. “So, we even had to remove base boards and any upholstered or wood furniture, which included most of the bed frames,” she noted.

Gonzales reported on the situation at Noel Lodge during a monthly meeting of non-profits hosted by United Way of Reno County, asking the group to help her think through the challenging situation. Leaning into the “community connector” role, UWRC staff were able to communicate the need to a local business owner and a solution was found quickly.

When Kevin Rule, the owner of the Sleep Shoppe & Furniture Gallery in downtown Hutchinson heard about the situation at Noel, he jumped at the opportunity to help. “The answer is ‘YES’,” said Rule, as he recounted being asked about his interest in helping replace the bedding. “If I was in need, I would hope someone else’s answer to be ‘yes.’ If I can have an opportunity to be helpful to this community—why not,” Rule added.

Rule reached out to a local mattress supplier and was able to secure the number of mattresses, with protective coverings, to fully replace all those which the lodge had to discard. In addition to the mattresses, Rule has also secured bunkbed frames to fully replace those lost. In total, Rule is fully donating 25 beds and frames to the shelter, allowing the organization to continue to run at capacity.

“This is just a great example of leaning into relationships and the power of openly communicating needs,” said Valerie Taylor, the UWRC Community Impact Coordinator. “As a unique organization which works closely with businesses leaders and community organizations, we were able to make those connections and our community will benefit for the better,” said Taylor.

The new bedding will arrive to Noel Lodge just in time for Christmas. Staff from New Beginnings has been working to prepare the space with new flooring and have added additional safety procedures to combat any future infestations.

“This Christmas season, with this donation, those who stay with us at Noel will be reminded that they are not forgotten—that this community is wrapping its arms around them. We are all so grateful,” said Gonzales.

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