Fill This House Provides Beds and Housewares to Young Adults in Need

Fill this House pic
Fill this House

The founder and president of Custom Fundraising Solutions in Westlake, Ohio, Joe Matejka is behind increasingly popular mattress fundraisers in schools around the area. Joe Matejka donates some of these beds to the Cleveland charity Fill This House.

Fill This House exists to serve the needs of older foster children as they begin a period of transition. When foster children turn 18, they age out of the system. For many new adults, this means suddenly finding oneself without a home or possessions.

Fill This House helps these underserved young adults bridge the gap between foster care and providing for themselves. Operating on faith-based principles and powered by volunteer efforts, the charity provides young people with all of the housewares, bedding, and other basics they will need in their first apartment, dorm, or house.

The organization needs donations of new goods to run effectively and is always seeking help from the public. To learn more, visit


Fundraising and Fill This House

Fill This House pic
Fill This House

With a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ohio University, Joe Matejka founded Custom Fundraising Solutions (CFS), an organization that facilitates mattress fundraisers for high schools throughout the United States. Involved in his local Ohio community, Joe Matejka and CFS donate beds to Fill This House (FTH), a nonprofit that provides basic necessities to children transitioning out of the foster care system and into independent housing.

Based in Cleveland, Ohio, FTH solicits financial donations on their website, but they also encourage potential donors to get creative in their efforts to collect items for teens transitioning into independent living. Event suggestions include golf tournaments, hosting a gift shower at a home, or organizing an item drive at work where individuals can contribute gifts. Churches and schools can plan events to collect items and raise money as well.

Fill This House provides the host a list of desired items and then only a location, date, and time needs to be set up. FTH stores and holds the items in their warehouse.

Custom Fundraising Solutions: School Fundraisers, Start to Finish

Joe Matejka is the founder and president of Custom Fundraising Solutions, a business developed in 2005 to help school children raise money. In lieu of the much-offered chocolate almonds and car washes, Joe Matejka’s company initiated a mattress fundraiser which is now carried out nation-wide.


When schools or fundraising organizations hire Custom Fundraising Solutions (CFS) to manage their fundraiser, the company handles the entire process. Rather than children or their parents undertaking the sale of the product, CFS manages all sales and sets up the showrooms as required to display the products for sale.

Participants in CFS fundraisers are not expected to buy anything prior to the fundraiser, nor do they need to collect money or deliver the items purchased by supporters—CFS handles all the finances and distribution, presenting the money raised to the organization after the fundraiser is complete.

Once an organization decides to work with CFS, their primary job is to let the community know about the upcoming fundraiser. This can be done through posters, social media, or by word-of-mouth. Groups who have held fundraisers with CFS have raised as much as $50,000 with a single event.

The Mattress Fundraiser

 Custom Fundraising Solutions pic
Custom Fundraising Solutions

The inventor of the “mattress fundraiser,” Joe Matejka earned his marketing degree from Ohio University. His first job after college was with a firm that operated traditional fundraisers for schools and other organizations. He later started his own firm which furnished model homes for builders. In 2005, capitalizing on lessons learned in both industries, Joe Matejka invented the mattress fundraiser, and established Custom Fundraising Solutions.

When his children reached school age, Matejka noticed that the products being sold in their schools’ fundraisers – candy, cookie dough, knickknacks, gewgaws, and the like — hadn’t changed from when he was in the fundraising industry. Around the same time, he encountered a statistic that would warm the heart of any marketer (or mattress manufacturer): 9.9 percent of the American population purchases a brand new mattress every year. Combining the two industries he was most familiar with, home furnishing and fundraising, Matejka approached the school football coach with an idea for a mattress fundraiser, and they decided to try it out.

In traditional fundraisers, students take orders for a broad range of products, and deliver them later. A mattress fundraiser is essentially the same, except that those friends and neighbors, as well as students’ parents, are asked to purchase a mattress, if they’re in the market, from a selection on display at the school, often the gym or cafeteria, for later delivery. Not faced with any of the normal overhead, the school can sell the mattresses for a significant discount – in some cases as much as 60 percent — from their normal retail price, and still realize a handsome profit for the school. And because purchasers help the school while buying a product they really need at a great price, the transaction really is win-win.

In that first mattress fundraiser in 2005, Matejka sold 42 mattresses and raised more than $4,000 in a single day. Today, with more than 100 locations nationwide, his company’s goal is to raise more than $10 million annually for the schools with which they work.

Safety Tips for Weight Training

Joe Matejka is the founder and president of Westlake, Ohio’s Custom Fundraising Solutions, a firm that helps schools earn money through mattress fundraisers. Outside of work, Joe Matejka enjoys weight training, a fitness-intensive athletic practice that necessitates the following safety tips.

1. Since the exercise involves using weights and gravity to generate resistance against skeletal muscles, it is important that athletes take the time to warm up prior to lifting. A warmup exercise should be light and non-strenuous, such as a 10-minute walk. This allows the muscles to increase in temperature, making them more pliable, and less likely to suffer damage under strain.

2. Right before performing a lift, athletes should also check to make sure that weight plates are safely secured onto the bar. Once this has been accomplished, they should focus on using proper form to lift and not rely on momentum in order to raise the weight. Weight training is about maintaining control to increase strength and muscle size, and this can only be done when athletes focus on lifting at a safe, consistent speed.

3. A crucial component of safe weight training is awareness. Along with being aware of their surroundings, athletes who practice weight training need to be aware of how they feel physically. Anyone who experiences dizziness, chest pain, or shortness of breath during training should stop lifting immediately, and further examine their physical state.