As we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas and you’re sitting around your dining room table eating a Thanksgiving meal or maybe your children are nestled in their beds waiting on Santa to come place presents under the tree, consider what it would be like if your family didn’t have that table to eat your meals at or your children didn’t have a bed to call their own. Since Beds for Kids inception in January 2011, we have been able to change that by providing over 1,550 beds to children and their families and over 8,280 units of essential furniture items. Daniel was recently on the David Chadwick radio show https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/david-chadwick-podcast/id96257275 and discussed in detail Beds for Kids mission and explained how Beds for Kids empowers those in need within our city. David and Daniel were also excited to announce on air that all year-end contributions will be matched up to $25,000. Through the generosity of several donors every dollar that you give will be doubled up to $25,000. We ask that you graciously consider Beds for Kids for your year-end giving. Your family’s holiday gift will change the life of another family’s holiday experience. If you would like to make a contribution click on the following link http://www.bedsforkids.org/monetary-donations/.
Recently Daniel and I sat down with Jeanette Reber, principal at Ashley Park Elementary, a Title I school on Charlotte’s West side. Mrs. Reber graciously gave us an hour and half of her time sharing, with much passion, the challenging environment the majority of her students live in daily. Every principal in Charlotte has a tough job ensuring the learning atmosphere is prime for their students’ success; however, principals like Mrs. Reber have additional struggles they must consider when caring for the students they shepherd and lead. Mrs. Reber’s students come from extremely marginalized communities where pantries at home are not always full, where local gang leaders are recruiting young boys as early as 5th grade, and where survival is an effort on the forefront of many of her 1st graders’ minds. Her school’s staff and teachers are much more than just educators and often times develop sobering insight to the home life of their students.
She shared story after story of her experiences with these children she loves so dearly. By the end of our time my soul was torn between both terrible heartache and excited jubilee. Daniel read my mind before I could speak and asked what else that Beds for Kids could specifically do to help her students and their families. “My children need lamps”. As if she knew the question was coming she said that the beds and kitchen tables and desks were awesome but that lamps were just as vital. “So many of my children live in housing where overhead lighting is minimal and possibly limited only to the bathroom and kitchen. Therefore my students end up doing their homework either inches away from the TV screen in order to see or on the bathroom countertop. So many students have been given multiple new book bags in August and bikes before Christmas but they still lack something as essential as a lamp all year long, and thus, they continue to struggle in school.” I was blown away, not just because I had never placed such emphasis on BFK providing lamps but that I had continued to assume that I knew the exact needs for those in poverty. God’s Word tells us in Galations “to carry each other’s burdens, and in this way fulfill the law of Christ.” And I am reminded that in order to truly share in the struggles of my neighbor as Christ calls us to, I must really come to know and spend time with my neighbor first.
All that being said, I ask for two things from those reading this blog post. 1) Help us collect more lamps to serve our families with and, 2) consider getting to know the neighbor you intend to serve before assuming what their greatest need is. Invite them over to a meal, spend time with another parent and have a play date with their children, and then see just what the Lord opens up your eyes to as you actually live in community with your neighbor rather than always serving them from a distance.
The Crawford family excitedly greeted our delivery team at the front door with huge smiles and hugs. Four generations of women were in the house, from grandma to great granddaughter; all standing in the kitchen in joyful conversation (holding the littlest who was just 2 years old). As each new bed was brought in the women shouted with gratitude and surprise at how great it was to finally have the much needed beds, the new kitchen table, a sofa and dressers in their home. Even after 45 minutes of bringing in the final piece and building the last bed frame they still gushed with gladness. And as our team prayed over their family, holding hands and asking for God’s presence and provision to rest on that household, it was obvious that they already knew that God had them in the fold of his robe providing each daily need. When our delivery team began to leave, the second youngest of the women (maybe 20), ran out to the truck and asked if she could briefly write a word of praise on the inside of the BFK truck alongside all the words of scripture and blessing written their before. It was her “mark” to remember just how God had revealed his greatness to her family on that regular Monday.
When the Furnishing Futures tagline was created at the end of 2011, it struck a chord with me, however, I didn’t realize until yesterday that I actually never understood what the true meaning of those two words were.
After many months of volunteering and working with Beds for Kids, I finally was able to make a trip with Brandon & Dennis to go serve some of our clients yesterday. It was such an emotional and profound afternoon for me. I met a couple that greeted us on a stairwell with excitement and smiles. We began to start unloading the truck and bringing the items up the stairwell, when I entered their home, I noticed that their house was empty. As the unpacking and moving went forward, through conversations with the couple, I learned they had 5 daughters between the ages of 3 & 7. We talked about the children and their personalities and I learned rather quickly that the little 3 year old had the run of the house. We were able to share a few laughs, a few pictures and a few moments of personal insight into their lives. As we put the children’s beds together and re-arranged furniture within the house, the parents were so grateful and filled with such joy, laughter and pride for their children. At that moment, I didn’t feel like we were serving clients in need, I felt we were helping close friends & family.
I walked away from there realizing that we are helping furnish futures by providing furniture to those in need, but that these families are helping furnish futures as well by showing us love, support and hope when times are difficult. The children started with a house full of love, we provided a house full of furniture and now God will provide a future full of optimism. To me, Beds for Kids isn’t just furnishing futures to those in need of furniture items, but to all of us no matter which side of the spectrum we fall into.
On Saturday February 11th, we had 60+ volunteers from 7 different churches come and spend the day here at the Beds for Kids warehouse. There was so much love, faith and inspiration in our warehouse that day, it was truly amazing! The volunteers helped with tasks such as delivering furniture to children and families in need, picking up donations from the community, prepping furniture for future deliveries, upholstering chairs, building a wood-working station, spreading mulch, sanding chairs and bunk beds to painting walls. We wanted to share some of the pictures from that day with you.
If you missed out, there is another opportunity to serve with LOVE week here at Beds for Kids this Saturday, February 18th 2012 from 9am to 12pm. Don’t forget to sign up..we look forward to seeing you at the warehouse.← Older posts