10:00 PM PDT on Thursday, March 24, 2011
Natural disasters have kept the small staff at Corona-based WorldBed Inc., founded by Inland mattress-maker Anatomic Global, busy since it started sending portable beds to victims displaced by the Haiti earthquake that struck in January 2010.
The group, which raises funds to send thin vinyl-covered beds to regions struck by disaster, plans to send 100 of the makeshift emergency beds to Japan next week. In between, the group has sent beds to other countries affected by earthquakes including Chile and Pakistan.
Since its start, WorldBed has raised more than $800,000, said Laura Castro, executive director. A few mattress retailers have joined with the group making matching donations (for every bed a customer buys, retailers donate a WorldBed or handing out $38 gift cards to customers who make a direct donation, in some cases). The group has partnered with other non-profit organizations to have the beds packed and shipped with other supplies heading to Japan so there won’t be a freight cost for WorldBed. Until now, only a handful of WorldBeds were being transported to Japan by individual relief workers who rolled them up in duffle bags to take with them on a plane.
The non-profit hadn’t partnered with any other Inland efforts to raise funds or provide relief for Japan. Castro said and she wasn’t aware of the city of Riverside’s efforts to raise funds for relief efforts in it’s sister city Sendai.
Anatomic Global, a Corona-based memory-foam mattress maker, started WorldBed with the goal to send 200,000 of the beds to Haiti through 2010. The company had set aside space in its factory to manufacture the three-inch-thick water-resistant beds that cost $38 to make and ship (although a year ago, the beds cost $36).
So far WorldBed has shipped just over 20,000 beds to Haiti, Chile, Pakistan, Africa and elsewhere.
Castro said beds have also been purchased by an Orange County disaster relief group in case they’re needed for any disasters occurring closer to home.
“We just plan to continue to respond to whatever comes our way,” Castro said.
Anatomic Global is still manufacturing the beds at cost, but WorldBed is now an independent nonprofit no longer being wholly funded by Anatomic Global, Castro said.
Reach Kimberly Pierceall at 951-368-9552 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 951-368-9552 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or kpierceall@PE.com