A Bed To Call Your Own
Kentucky group providing beds to those in need
Good night, sleep tight. It is time to crawl into your cozy bed. But not for everyone. You would think everyone in America has a bed to call their own, but sadly it is not so.
Many people in this country take things for granted. They have food to eat, clothes to wear and a bed to sleep in each night. There are many poor and even middle-class families across the nation who lack beds.
“Many families have a hard choice to make. Are they going to put food on the dinner table or buy a bed for their children? When this happens, they will choose food," says Mary Claire Williams.
Mary Claire is the Project Director for the Morehead State University AmeriCorps. One of their projects is building beds for children in Eastern Kentucky.
“A bed is not the first item people think of when looking to help a family in need. There isn't as much awareness about this issue as there should be,” shared Mary Claire.
Eastern Kentucky is one of the poorest areas in the United States. There is a high percentage of families living below the poverty level.
People who work in schools and homeless shelters see the need every day. “Build-A-Bed” is a small gesture that has an immeasurable impact on a child and family.
The Kentucky "Build-A-Bed" project began in 2009. Two Kentucky AmeriCorps Programs built 57 beds for children in that first year.
Since 2009, the project has gained a lot of momentum. In 2010, a statewide build resulted in 557 beds for preschool through 12th grade students across Kentucky. In 2011, various Kentucky AmeriCorps programs hosted regional builds across the state. Morehead State University AmeriCorps is in the sixth year of their regional project.
Mary Claire is proud of the donations the project receives from local communities. She is proud of the group continuing to grow and innovate each year. And she’s proud of the volunteers, like State Farm Agent Steve Baker and his team members, who go above and beyond.
"The volunteers won’t leave until every last screw is in place for each bed."
The most rewarding part for volunteers is seeing the smiles on the children’s faces. Each child gets a brand new bed with a homemade quilt. They also get a pillow, sheets, stuffed animal, book, nightlight and a hygiene kit.
Although they build beds for school-age children, they help the whole family. Oftentimes parents or grandparents are sharing a bed with three children. Nobody is getting a good night sleep. Providing the children with beds affects the well-being of the whole family.
As awareness of the project grows, so does the need. Their goal is to continue to raise enough money each year to provide more and more children with beds. Fortunately, companies like State Farm provide funding, but more is needed.
In 2016, almost 400 children asked for beds, but they were only able to provide 240. The program and volunteers would love to provide a bed to everyone in need. It is heartbreaking to mail letters to families telling them they cannot meet their need.
The Build a Bed group has a wish. To secure enough funding to provide a bed for each child who applies. To learn how you can help, click here.