Real estate agency's annual pillow drive gives fresh start to those in need

Stashed in her parent's garage in Hudson, Wisconsin, piles of pillows are stacked close to the ceiling.

“I am a little obsessed with our pillow fight for Bridging,” said Sara Nielson.

Nielson and her fellow coworkers at the Coldwell Banker Burnet's Hudson office are among 24 real estate branches collecting pillows for the sixth year in a row.

“Last year we hit 1,000, then 1,200, oh my god we are 1,500,” said Nielson. “And then we ended up at 1,632 and we have the smallest office in the company.”

The pillows are donated to Bridging's two metro furniture banks. The local nonprofit helps 300 people a week furnish their homes as they transition out of homelessness.

“There is nothing better than giving a brand new pillow to someone - first, because they don't have it,” said Diana Dalsin from Bridging. “The message it sends that says here you go - here's your fresh start.”

Dalsin says donations of all shapes and sizes are critical to helping furnish 4,000 homes a year.           

“They stepped up to the plate, that first year, it was a couple thousand," she said. "Last year, they donated over 10,000 pillows, nearly all of them brand new.”

Nielson is passionate because she knows too often pillows and a place to rest your head are taken for granted.

“How does a little kid go to school when they haven’t had a good night's sleep? How does an adult have a good day at work without a pillow?” said Nielson “It's just something so basic.”

Next weekend, Coldwell Banker Burnet will be collecting pillows at all open house locations March 11 and 12.

Nielson's branch location in Hudson aims to collect 2,000 pillows this year. The company wide deadline is March 25.

For more information about Bridging, visit: