"Now I feel normal."
There's no better way to show the impact of Beds for Kids than these four words from a nine-year-old boy after his family's home was furnished by the Charlotte-based nonprofit.
We don't often think about the power of furniture, but the team at Beds for Kids knows that getting a bed, a couch, or a table is life changing. They know because they've seen it.
Mothers have told Executive Director Daniel Fogarty that their children started inviting friends over for the first time after getting furniture from Beds for Kids. A past client invited Daniel to her son's high school graduation. It was a nice gesture made even more poignant by the fact that the young man had previously dropped out of school and getting furniture from Beds for Kids started a series of positive changes for the family that led to him earning his high school diploma.
Founded in 2011 out of a garage, Beds for Kids has grown quickly to fill a unique niche in Charlotte. "We realized that Charlotte was one of the largest cities in the U.S. that didn't have an agency whose sole focus was beds and furniture," says Daniel. "In our first year we served 256 kids. Now we serve on average 200 people each month."
Beds for Kids has directly impacted 14,369 individuals, delivered 11,449 beds and 109,146 total bed and furniture units to children and their families in need since 2011.
Families in need are referred to Beds for Kids through their partnerships with agencies in the community. Most referrals come from licensed and trained social workers who carefully vet each family.
A family in need could be a mother and her children who left their home, and all their belongings, to flee domestic violence. It could be a family welcoming a foster child on short notice that needs a bedroom set for their new family member. It could be that a police officer entered a home, noticed that a child in the family had no bed, and referred them to a social worker to get the home adequately furnished.
Every family's story is different, but each one can be transformed by the power of beds and furniture. "A kitchen table may seem like a nuisance to a lot of parents because it collects clutter, but to some families that's the very piece of furniture that makes them feel like they're just like everyone else," says Daniel.
Thousand Bed Challenge
Last year Beds for Kids held its second annual Thousand Bed Challenge—a #GivingTuesdayCLT campaign that allowed 1,193 local children to stop sleeping on the floor and start sleeping in their own beds. The Beds for Kids team is excited to launch its third annual Thousand Bed Challenge for #GivingTuesdayCLT 2019.
How You Can Furnish Futures
You can help Beds for Kids empower families to rise out of poverty and into self-sufficiency three ways:
Donate Furniture: Beds for Kids takes mattresses, box springs, and all kinds of furniture. Their team will even come pick it up for you. They ask for a $10 donation to help with transportation costs. Learn more about donating furniture here.
Give a Financial Gift: $450 allows Beds for Kids to fully furnish a home. That means a bed for every family member in need, plus new linens and a pillow, a dining table and chairs, lamps, dressers, living room furniture and more. $150 provides a twin bed and linens, and $25 provides new linens for a twin bed. Furniture and financial donations are all tax-deductible. Learn more about financial donations here.
Volunteer Your Time: Volunteers help Beds for Kids keep administrative costs down so more resources can go toward serving children and families in need. Spend a Saturday morning cleaning, moving, or staging furniture. You can also organize and pack bed linens. Beds for Kids is always looking for help with furniture pickups and client family deliveries. Learn more about volunteering here.
Grace Kennedy is a Huntersville-based writer specializing in storytelling for nonprofits. Learn more at gracekennedy.net.