Two-year-old Mariyam Karim was curious about everything happening in her apartment Friday morning. New beds were arriving; old beds that had seen better days or weren’t exactly safe for her siblings were heading out the door.
Mariyam, who her parents say has energy like a monkey, hopped from room to room as installers from Factory Mattress took apart the old beds piece by piece and set up the new beds from the frames on up.
"It’s nice," said her father, Mohammad Karim, 34.
Mariyam repeated, "It’s nice," as she felt her twin bed beside her parents’ queen bed. Her siblings Jannat Karim, 7, and Hashim, 6, were at school, but now each have their own twin bed in their shared room.
"You help me, so very thank you," said their mother, Minatt Karim, 26.
The Karim family has had quite a journey to get to Austin. Mohammad and Minatt are Rohingya, who have been persecuted in Myanmar. He made his way to Thailand as a teenager and then Malaysia, where Minatt joined him and the older two children were born. They came to the U.S. in 2015, first to San Antonio and then to Austin.
The Karim family is part of the Statesman Season for Caring program, which features 12 families nominated by local nonprofit organizations. The Karims were nominated by Interfaith Action of Central Texas.
This year, Factory Mattress donated more than $25,000 worth of beds, making sure that all of the Season for Caring featured families that needed them had a new bed for a good night’s sleep. That equaled 43 beds, some of them more expensive adjustable beds to accommodate recipients who had medical needs for them.
"Basically, it’s quality of life," said Stephen Frey Jr., president of Factory Mattress. "Anything we can do to help improve that. It’s what this company was founded on, helping the community."
Factory Mattress works with its manufacturers to get their help supporting this donation as well. It’s the 10th year Factory Mattress has donated to the Statesman’s annual charity program. Since 2010, Factory Mattress has donated $177,000 worth of beds.
"We're locally, family owned," Frey said. "It is home. That's why it’s important to us. Any way we can give back and help those in need, we’ll do anything within our power."
The Karim family still has many items on its wish list. Their apartment has a few items, but only one chair in the living room. They need living room furniture; a washer and dryer; sheets and bedding for the new beds; a vacuum cleaner; and gift cards to H-E-B and Target. He currently is working as a dishwasher in a restaurant, but would like job training to be a welder or mechanic.
To find out more about the Karim family or to give an item on their wish list, contact Interfaith Action of Central Texas: 512-386-9145; interfaithtexas.org.