With the school year approaching, many Tristate parents will begin pushing their children to get to bed early for a productive school day.

It’s sure to irritate many youngsters, but the comfort of their own bed is something many local children live without.

“A bed is such a huge need and it’s something that many people forget about,” says Mary Taylor, coordinator for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Bob and Sylvia Rahe Mattress Fund. “It’s very heartbreaking for our volunteers to find children sleeping on sheets or a pile of clothes on the floor.”

Started by Cincinnati Society of St. Vincent de Paul volunteers Bob and Sylvia Rahe in 1994, the mattress drive intends to give all people, especially children, a suitable place to sleep at night. Before they passed away, the Rahes had become passionate about getting mattresses to the disadvantaged. With more than 900 volunteers and 58 conferences (the name for St. Vincent de Paul volunteer groups), the society is doing its part to keep the couple’s work alive.

With help from neighborhood volunteers, St. Vincent de Paul takes applications from people and families requesting beds and cribs. The charitable organization then has a committee assess each applicant based on need before handing out the mattress.

Unfortunately, the need for mattresses and cribs outpaces the supply. On average, there are 100 mattress requests per month, while only 50 are met. The other half, many of which are children, must go another month without a bed.

The Society has partnered with Morris Home Furnishings through Labor Day to help with the drive. With each Morris mattress sale, 2.5 percent of the purchase will go directly to the St. Vincent de Paul mattress fund. Along with accepting new mattresses, the Society is also accepting cash donations for the fund.

Considering that the average cost of a mattress is $100 and the going rate for a crib with a mattress is $300, the cost of providing families with a comfortable living standard can turn steep quickly.

“Many struggling families have little money, so they have to chose food over a bed, which is obviously important, but a bed is such a large need and something many people don’t think of,” says Elysa Hamlin, communication coordinator at St. Vincent de Paul. “It’s really a huge need in the community and continues to be one.”

However, the sight of elderly residents with scratches on their backs from exposed mattress springs and sore children used to sleeping on hard floors makes Hamlin and Taylor determined to help the community.

“There is such huge need but we’re not close to meeting it,” says Taylor.

For information on donating to St. Vincent de Paul, call 513-421-4673, or visit svdpcincinnati.com.