Moncton charity desperate for volunteers to help fire victims

1 / 2
Moncton charity desperate for volunteers to help fire victims

A Moncton charity that helps victims of fire is desperate for volunteers to help with a new mattress donation program.

Through the 'Donate a Bed' program, Sleep Country, a Moncton furniture store, donates used mattresses it collects from customers to Big Hearts Small City, which in turn gives them to families in need.

But charity founder Jason Surette said he is struggling to find volunteers for the program.

"One of our major things is helping fire victims. We're the only organization in Atlantic Canada that rapidly rehouses fire victims when they don't have insurance," he said.

"Within three days of a fire our priority is to get someone into another place to live."

A couple of hours

Surette told Information Morning Moncton that mattresses are one of the key items fire victims need immediately.

But since January, the organization received only nine mattresses from Sleep Country because there is no one who can go to their warehouse to sort though the donations.

Surette needs two volunteers who are willing to spend a couple of hours, twice a week.

"If someone buys a bed from Sleep Country, if their old bed is still in good condition, they'll donate that back to Sleep Country and then Sleep Country provides those beds back to our organization," he said.

He added the charity won't accept the mattresses if they are stained or ripped or too old.

"Sometimes they get mattresses back that are 50 or 60 years old, so they're just not usable anymore," he said.

Delivery problems

He said the other problem is getting them delivered.

Right now, he has to hire a trucking company to pick up and deliver the mattresses.

"A lot of the customers that we deal with... they don't have transportation," he said. 

"So we have to try to juggle to try to get mattresses out to people that don't have a way to pick them up."

Big Hearts Small City currently operates in Moncton, Fredericton and Miramichi.

Surette said he would like to expand to other cities but that also depends on volunteers.

"If we don't have the volunteers then we don't have the resources to be able to help people," he said.

"So the more people we have involved in our organization then the more people we're able to help."