Women’s shelter says good morning to brand new beds

(L to R): Police Chief Jon Bergen, Prince Albert Safe Shelter for Women President Heather Sherdahl and Executive Director Carol Soles, Sleep Country Canada Vice-President of Charitable Initiatives Lynn Martel, Ward 4 Coun. Don Cody, Northcote MLA Nicole Rancourt and Prince Albert Safe Shelter for Women Assistant Director Sherry Bates. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

“Sometimes that’s the first good night’s sleep they’ve had in a long, long time—not sleeping with one eye open.”

– Lynn Martel, Sleep Country Canada Vice-President of Charitable Initiatives

Sleep Country Canada has donated 22 beds and bedding essentials to women and children who need a good night’s rest.

The Prince Albert Safe Shelter for Women is the busiest in the province, according to President Heather Sherdahl.

It gives women and children in situations of domestic abuse a place “to move beyond their current circumstances.”

Assistant Director Sherry Bates said the shelter is typically at at least 95 per cent occupancy. Being able to hold 26 beds, the donation replaces almost all of them.

“It will have a rippling effect for years to come,” said Bates. “It frees up money that we can put towards programming or other things that we wouldn’t necessarily be able to do considering the budget that we have to adhere to every year.”

She added the shelter gets adequate core funding, but not specifically for furnishings.

Sleep Country prepares for the donation to be hauled to the Prince Albert Safe Shelter for Women on May 16, 2019. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

Lynn Martel, Sleep Country Canada’s vice-president of charitable initiatives, guessed the donation costs $10-15,000.

Aside from the 22 beds, they’ve also donated mattresses, pillows, pillow cases, mattress encasements and waterproof covers and sheets.

During the announcement of the donation on Thursday morning, she emphasized the importance of sleep.

“In Canada, we know the safety of all citizens is imperative, yet not everyone is born into or lives in a safe or protective environment,” she said.

“Sometimes that’s the first good night’s sleep they’ve had in a long, long time—not sleeping with one eye open.”

Prominent members of the city attended the announcement, including police Chief Jon Bergen, Northcote MLA Nicole Rancourt, Ward 4 Coun. Don Cody and Ward 3 Coun. Evert Botha.

Ward 4 Coun. Don Cody speaks at Sleep Country’s donation announcement, with Sleep Country Canada’s Lynn Martel beside him on May 16, 2019. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

Prince Albert’s Sleep Country store opened last month. Shortly before, in March, Martel paid a visit to the shelter.

She said it’s important the company makes a charitable donation in small markets before they’ve made a ton of business.

“We really want to be part of the fabric of the community. We hire from within the community, but we don’t really want to be seen as a big national company coming in and stealing business,” she said.

Additionally, Sleep Country has their Counting Sheep for Mental Wellness campaign running throughout the month of May.

For every stuffed sheep the store sells, which costs $10 plus tax, all net proceeds are donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). For every weighted blanket, $5 are donated.

“Everyone deserves to wake up feeling well,” said Martel.

Their other two national campaigns are Give a Kid a Coat and Pyjamas & Storybooks for Better Bedtimes.