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Free mattresses benefit Hurricane Maria evacuees

Posted on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 6:00 am

By Rachel Christian
Staff Writer
Many Hurricane Maria evacuees lost everything in the storm that struck Puerto Rico last year – including a place to lay their head.
An island based company stepped up this week to help those who have relocated to the Central Florida area.
Global Mattress, a business expanding from Puerto Rico to Central Florida, gave away 22 beds Wednesday at its future location off Vineland Road in Kissimmee.
The store isn’t set to open until May, but Global Mattress’ General Operations Director Javier Tejeda

news-gazette Photo/martin maddock
Global Mattress made a donation of mattresses to 22 families who were displaced from Puerto Rico because of Hurricane Maria.

said his company wanted to help relocated families as quickly as possible.
“We often take it for granted, having a soft mattress to go to sleep on,” Tejeda said. “It’s a small thing that means a lot to those who lost everything they had in the hurricane.”
Global Mattress teamed up with Latino Leadership, an Orlando-based nonprofit, to identify 50 recipients for its mattress giveaway.
Latino Leadership’s founder Marytza Sanz, said that the organization has helped thousands of families since Hurricane Maria struck.
“We continue providing assistance throughout our Puerto Rico Family Response Center,” she said. “For that reason, partnerships like this one are vital to help mitigate the overwhelming needs of so many of the newly arrived.”
Pablo Arroyo was one of the recipients Wednesday. He came over about three months ago after losing everything back home.
“It’s the greatest thing,” Arroyo said. “Not being able to sleep well is the worst. You’re tired and nervous. So this will
be great.”
The business has 14 locations in Puerto Rico, and had planned to open shop on the mainland long before Maria hit.
Global Mattress intends to open five stores in Central Florida over the next eight months, with the first location to open in Kissimmee in May.
Tejeda said that as part of this community initiative, the company will set aside inventory on a regular basis to help Central Floridians in need.
“We want to be good neighbors and help those who are still recovering,” Tejeda said.