The grass at Robert Lundigan Park in Burbank was just a midway stop for the more than 750 pink, gray and blue comforters stacked high on Wednesday.
Glendale- and Pasadena-based partners of the nonprofit Family Promise of East San Fernando Valley made short work of loading up the donated comforters to distribute to local homeless clients — the first harvest of a three-month donation campaign backed by the online bedding firm the Company Store.
The store is donating one comforter to the program for every one sold through March to benefit families served by Family Promise affiliates and partners across the U.S.
The Homeless Solutions Project, which helps the homeless in Burbank and Glendale get into transitional and permanent housing, and Door of Hope in Glendale and Pasadena were among the organizations represented at the park Wednesday.
They said the donation would go a long way in providing the sort of creature comforts that can make all the difference in a temporary housing situation.
Family Promise East of San Fernando Valley, one of several affiliates of the nationwide Family Promise organization, coordinated the effort.
“This really is for that family that has been doubled up or tripled up, living with [another] family,” said Jaci White, the executive director of Family Promise East. “One family was living with 16 people in one bedroom and went to sleep in their car at the thought of going to a shelter.”
Most of the families that are served do not consider themselves homeless, White added.
“Six months ago, they were the ones volunteering, giving to food pantries and now they’re receiving.”
Melissa Carter, 40, was at the dispersal event Wednesday as a graduate of the Family Promise program. The former Pasadena resident with three children now lives in Burbank after getting help during a post-divorce transition.
About a year ago, Carter said she was finalizing her divorce and needed to move. But because she couldn’t get her deposit back until she actually moved out, she needed an interim place for her family.
“I called around and found Family Promise,” Carter said after receiving comforters for her family Wednesday. “I put our stuff in storage and it was an unexpectedly good experience.”
Carter said she was expecting the worst when she found herself without a home, but a Family Promise “day house” shared with two other families allowed her to focus on regrouping.
A month later, she was able to move into her current place in Burbank, where she has lived for more than a year.
“When you say the word ‘shelter,’ you don’t think of a nice, comfortable place,” Carter said. “When you hear ‘shelter’ you think dividers, that it might not be very clean, that it’s not nice or friendly. I thought I would be nervous, that I would have to watch my things and kids, and my experience was nothing like that.”