SALT LAKE CITY — Nine-year-old Chase Hansen has always had a perceptive eye for those who are suffering, his dad says.

Years ago, as a small child, Chase was walking with his family downtown and asked “what was going on with some of these people who looked sad,” John Hansen said of his son.

The boy’s concern for the well-being of those who are less fortunate has only grown, and since 2016, Chase has been spearheading something he and his dad call Project Empathy, an undertaking in which they and other volunteers invite a homeless person to a conversation over lunch.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Chase Hansen, 9-year-old CEO of Kid Labs and a Leesa Social Changemaker, helps unwrap mattress covers at the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake on World Homeless Day in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Leesa Sleeps donated 150 mattresses to the mission.

On Wednesday, direct-to-consumer mattress maker Leesa Sleep teamed up with the Hansens to distribute 150 mattresses to the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake City, which runs an emergency shelter downtown.

Leesa Sleep made donations Wednesday in Salt Lake, four other U.S. cities and two cities in the United Kingdom in honor of World Homeless Day, selecting a local “social changemaker” in each location to coordinate the effort; in Salt Lake City, their choice was 9-year-old Chase.

“A homeless person that receives that mattress really needs it, and deserves it,” Chase told a rapt audience of adults, “and gets to accomplish things the next day.”

Justin Ward, Project Empathy’s first beneficiary who had previously received a Leesa mattress with the help of the Hansens, agreed that a good night’s sleep can help a destitute person better face steep challenges without adding fatigue to their list of setbacks.

“I tell you, that makes a world of difference from where I was, where I am now in having the mattress, to be able to sleep comfortably, and not wake up in so much pain as I used to,” said Ward.

The Rescue Mission, which also offers meals each day and provides programs helping the homeless overcome drug and alcohol addiction and mental illness, will benefit significantly from the mattresses, mission director Chris Croswhite said.

“A great night’s sleep is a critical part of (our work) because as people sleep well, they can wake up the next day to face the challenges of their lives,” Croswhite said.

UTA police also donated pillows to go with the new mattresses.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Charlotte Garcia and her fiancé, Ernie Luna, unwrap mattress covers at the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake on World Homeless Day in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Luna is a graduate of the mission’s recovery program. Leesa Sleeps donated 150 mattresses to the mission.

“We want everyone we interact with to keep their dignity intact regardless of what their situation is, and by us being here today, being able to give back, we feel like we’re doing that,” said UTA Police Chief Fred Ross.

Corrine Allen, a sales …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News


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The gift of sleep: Salt Lake emergency shelter receives new mattresses

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