Gillette Stadium was already buzzing with excitement on Monday even though the first preseason game was still a few days away.
On the field, end zone celebrations were in full swing, bear hugs were being shared and 200 wide, cheerful smiles stretched from sideline to sideline at the Bed-Zone Bash. I was so excited to be a part of this amazing event and meet all the children!
The event helped support A Bed for Every Child (an initiative of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless) and provided 200 amazing kids with mattresses, pillows and beds from Bob’s. In addition, the Patriots Foundation dressed up each bed with a team bed set, give-away items, and pajamas courtesy of the Pajama Program.
The best part? It was all a huge surprise for the kids. They were told they are going to the stadium for a tour, which on its own is way cool! But when the “tour” took a turn to the same tunnel that the players run out of on game day, the kids knew they were in for a surprise.
With “Crazy Train” blaring from the speakers just like game day, the children ran out onto the field to see their new beds.
“They were just so amazed that they were running through the tunnel,” said Robyn Frost, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. “They were amazed when they got out and they were more amazed to find their bed with their name on it.”
Getting Ready for the Kids!
Setting up 200 beds on the field at Gillette Stadium is no easy feat, but luckily, I had plenty of help from my co-workers and the Patriots Foundation and their volunteers. The day started bright and early at 7am when the first of two Bob’s Discount Furniture trucks backed up to the field.
Next, it was time to dress all the beds with sheets, New England Patriots comforters and Bob’s pillows. We topped each bed off with a number of fun items including a teddy bear, book and pajamas.
The Big Reveal
With the kids waiting in the tunnel and the music blasting, it was time for the big surprise. This is where things got super exciting. Kids jumping on beds, eating candy from my complimentary in-store cafes, and having some good old-fashioned kid fun.
Of course, if you’re a kid (of any age) on a football field you’re gonna have some fun running around and dancing in the end zone! Even I couldn’t resist showing off some of my moves.
After the big bed reveals, the kids sprinted down the field to the far end zone for inflatable games and a meet and greet with cheerleaders and Pat the Patriot. The children also enjoyed face painting, balloon clowns and lunch. Mmm… I just loved those chicken tenders! Good thing the honey mustard drips blend in with my yellow shirt.
Another Surprise – Patriot Players!
With the event winding down, there was one surprise left for the children – a visit by players. Patriot players took the field for a few minutes to sign autographs, chat with the kids and take selfies. What a great moment for these kids!
Time to Say Goodbye
Before I knew it, the kids had to head home. We waved goodbye and shared a few hugs. My volunteers were right back at it. Breaking it all down and loading the trucks back up. The beds would be delivered to their homes in the coming week.
“What an awesome opportunity for these kids to start off the school year; get a good night’s sleep so they’ll be successful both in the classroom and successful at home as they sleep well in their brand-new Bob’s Discount Furniture beds,” said Donna Spigarolo, director of community relations for the New England Patriots Foundation.
What a long, but amazing day. Until next year! Great job team.