Imagine going to bed at night on the cold floor of your house, maybe without even so much as a blanket and a pillow to call your own. With still about one and seven children in Massachusetts still living below the poverty line, this is the reality for thousands of children who may even be living in the same town as you.
“A Bed For Every Child” was started by the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless in order to provide thousands of children in poverty across the state with a bed to sleep in at night.
“Bed are one of the most overpriced pieces of furniture in your house,” says Robyn Frost, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.
“It really is critical that our body’s sleep, eat and get water. Those are the three things that are most important to a human being and if a child is not getting the proper sleep, and it is because of something like a bed you know that’s solvable.”
A major component to the spread and success of the initiative thanks to the help of the Cooperative Credit Union Association (CCUA). The CCUA has been involved with the coalition for over twenty years, according to Donna Bevilacqua, Director of Communications and Community Relations for the CCUA.
“We have supported all of their initiatives but the initiative that we have decided to focus on has been A Bed For Every Child,” said Bevilacqua.
“It is an initiative that most people can relate to when you realize when you woke up in the morning that you woke up in a bed. It’s hard to imagine that there are many children out there in this state that do not wake up in a bed everyday.”
The CCUA has several activities throughout the year to raise funding for the initiative including a charity golf tournament that is scheduled later this month. Recently, members of the CCUA and other volunteers hosted the ‘Build-A-Bed Challenge” to build beds for kids. Volunteers worked in teams to assemble the beds under a certain time limit. After the challenge was over, a total of 40 beds were built for children in need.
“It was absolutely amazing to see what this was like and what that does and what it will do for a child,” said Bevilacqua about her experience at the Build-A-Bed Challenge.
“All of the participating volunteers form the credit unions were so impressed and felt so good about what they did.”
Studies like the one done by ScienceDaily have shown that students who receive little or disrupted sleep tend to perform poorly in the classroom compared to students who are well rested. In fact, children who get adequate amounts of sleep are affected in every aspect of their lives, including their problem solving skills and ability to stay focused.
Since its creation, the initiative has partnered with public schools to assisted families who live in poverty and has provided beds for over 3,000 kids with 1,600 within this year alone. Currently in its fifth year, A Bed for Every Child is only in Massachusetts although going national is not completely out of the question, says Frost. Frost discusses the more realistic goal of being able to manufacture their own beds as soon as September 2017.
“It’s taken awhile for us to get things where we’d like them to be but I can tell you this is one of the first initiatives that the Massachusetts Coalition has that, I think, has made such an impact and is so important out there,” said Bevilacqua.
“I know personally myself it gives me that satisfying feeling of knowing that you’ve just made a difference in the life of a child. The smile that comes on their faces when they get to see their own bed is a big thing.”