CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte man is using bedsheets to inspire homeless or hospitalized children, who are in need of hope during difficult situations.
A mattress can feel bare without sheets, and it wasn’t until a friend’s child ended up in the hospital that Kevin Gatlin realized just how important they can be.
“My friend's child was in the hospital, and we were doing everything to keep his spirits up, but he was tired and just wanted to go home. On the way home I was thinking how that could be my wife and I, and what we would do in that situation," Gatlin said.
That incident is what fostered what is known today as Playtime Edventures, a company that designs interactive bed sheets and slumber bags for kids during difficult times. On those sheets, you'll see a multitude of colors, five different languages and games. But there's a much deeper meaning behind the design, according to Gatlin.
“So all of the instructions to play each game is located next to the game, and you can play all the games with what mom would have in her purse, which is coins or cut-out paper," Gatlin said. “Our mission is to provide a great activity for kids who are stuck in hospitals for long periods of time, organizations who provide safe beds for kids at home.”
That includes organizations like the Salvation Army Center of Hope Shelter in Charlotte. Gatlin was recently awarded a $15,000 grant through the Hornets Foundation, and with the funds he created and donated the sheets to the center.
“A lot of times families are here during their most discouraging times of their lives, so it might seem small, but it’s a big deal and these sheets are so unique," Communications Specialist for The Salvation Army of Charlotte Brent Reinhart said.
Gatlin says it's much more than just sheets.
“Sometimes we think what path we’re choosing in life, and sometimes our path is chosen for us. The common denominator was what we all have kids ... in hospitals and shelters so it kinda chose me. It's about the sheets, and I'm just behind the wheel driving,” Gatlin said.
Gatlin says, after the partnership with the Salvation Army, he plans to partner with Levine Children’s Hospital to give kids on hospital stays some comfort when they’re away from home.
To learn more about Playtime Edventures, and its mission click here.