Mattress Project Takes Off as Cruisers Get Onboard

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Sheryl Hamilton, Owner of LaPaz Gringos
It all started with a simple plea for help from Care for Kids La Paz founder, Barbara Spencer: “Does anyone have a used mattress for a family that is currently sleeping on the floor?”
In the two months since her plea on LPG – through teamwork, some very generous donations and community support — a total of 44 used mattresses have been delivered to needy families in Vista Hermosa, one of the poorest colonias in La Paz.
Last week the project got a real boost when the Club Cruceros Board of Directors voted unanimously to support the effort, starting with a donation large enough to buy 20 additional mattresses from one of the local segundas. Former and current members of the Board, Al Marchand and Gary Batha, were instrumental in bringing the project to the attention of the local boating community. Gary is also a professional photographer, and used some of his photos of the first delivery to make his presentation to the Board.
Earlier this month, after seeing photos of the families in their modest and harsh surroundings, an individual member of LaPaz Gringos wired a donation from California sufficient to buy 5 mattresses. She, and many others, have been moved to action by the photographs and stories of children sleeping three to a cot, on the floor, or in the case of one 17-year old boy, sharing a tattered old mattress with his parents.
During a recent delivery, a little 4-year old boy named Luis was literally jumping on his mattress with total glee, knowing his dream of sleeping on a “real bed” had finally come true.
There are far too many children like Luis in La Paz. In areas like Vista Hermosa and Marquez de Leon, many families have no electricity, no running water, and virtually no furniture. Each used mattress costs about $32 (400 mx). If you would like to make a donation of cash or bedding, please contact Sheryl Hamilton or Al Marchand
We will also be reaching out to local hotels, property managers, realtors and furniture stores who may be in a position to source or donate used mattresses, sofas and bedding for this project. The owners of Marina La Paz have kindly provided space to store donated items, and we have volunteers available for pick-up and delivery if needed.
As awareness and donations grow, we hope to expand the program into other colonias where the need is great.
Photo courtesy of Gary Batha.

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