Christmas Coincidence

Extra mattresses

Loaded trailer

Safe T Homes in Nimba County, Liberia, West Africa

CHRISTMAS COINCIDENCE by Shelly Codner, Area 4

On December 21, 2022, Iowa Waste Exchange Area Resource Specialist, Shelly Codner was contacted by Iowa State University Surplus Sales (ISU) regarding 200 mattresses available for distribution. While the mattresses were vinyl-covered and bed-bug resistant they each needed to be manually disinfected. In addition, due to storage and logistical considerations the mattresses needed to be offsite by January 2, 2023. Because of these considerations the mattresses could not be offered for public sale, which is ISU’s usual process.

 Codner needed to find a non-profit agency that would not only pick-up the mattresses by the January 2 deadline but who would carefully disinfect each and every one prior to distribution. Codner contacted multiple non-profits throughout her service area. Due to the timing and the fact that many within her networks were out of the office in observance of the upcoming holiday, making a suitable connection appeared impossible – until Christmas Eve.

 On December 24, 2022 Codner was contacted by Lopez Ministries and Serve Africa who expressed great interest in obtaining all 200 of the available mattresses. Serve Africa working alongside other non-profits had recently completed building ten Safe T Homes® in Nimba County, Liberia, West Africa. These homes would serve 100 Liberian orphans and were built as the beginning stages of a new Hope Center to serve many more adults and children in the future. Members of the Serve Africa team had been looking for mattress options for these children, were leaving for West Africa on January 12 and were able to pick-up all 200 mattresses by the January 2 deadline.

Not only do the mattresses have Iowa ties but the Safe T Homes® were designed and engineered by Sukup Manufacturing Company located in Sheffield. The Sukup Safe T Home ® has a construction time of one day, lockable windows and doors, have been proven to withstand a Category 4 hurricane, are fire-proof, termite-proof and machete-proof.

For additional information regarding the Iowa Waste Exchange visit For additional information regarding Serve Africa visit For additional information on Sukup Safe T Homes visit

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