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United Way in FD wants beds

Bed blitz aims to give kids a place to sleep

December 6, 2012
By BRANDON L. SUMMERS, , Messenger News

Thirty-one kids in Fort Dodge are sleeping on the floor, waiting for a bed of their own for Christmas.

To help, Bridging the Gap and the Fort Dodge Housing Agency are partnering this Saturday for Beds for Kids, a bed donation blitz.

"We ran the Beds for Kids promotion last year, very successfully," Jessica Martens, Bridging the Gap coordinator, said. "Last year, FDHA ran a separate Home for the Holidays drive, which was the exact same thing, bringing in beds for kids, so this year we all decided we should partner and do it all together."

Donations of new and used beds will be accepted Saturday at the old Fareway building, from 9 a.m. to noon.

The beds go to children who do not have beds or are currently sharing beds with family members. The names are taken from referrals from human service agencies, Anna Reid, FDHA family self-sufficiency coordinator, said.

"We're looking for any kind of donations, whether it's used beds, brand-new bed sets, monetary donations, sheets, because we will be giving out brand-new sheet sets and pillows with every bed delivery, and blankets," she said.

The need is great, Reid said.

"We have 31 children right now that are on the list, that need beds," she said. "They range from 18 months to 17 years old. That's a huge thing because you never know who has a bed and who doesn't."

According to Martens, the national average of children sleeping on the floor because their families can't afford basic furnishings is one in five.

"With one in five being the national statistic, the belief is that Fort Dodge is probably one in four, because our poverty level in the city is higher than the average," she said. "We really need to get those kids off the floor, into a bed, so they can get a good night's sleep."

The children benefit from having a bed of their own, Martens said.

"Without a good night's sleep, they're not able to focus in school and get the education they need to succeed in their future," she said. "We really think it is important to do this, and the Bridging the Gap program has been going for more than a year now. We've gotten 150 kids off the floor, but we still have another 30-plus on our waiting list to be served and we cannot serve those kids without the help of the community and the donations of those used beds."

The beds are delivered Dec. 17 to Dec. 24, in time for Christmas.

"For some of the kids, they don't have anything," Jessica Barkhaus, FSS coordinator, said. "What we give them might be all they receive."



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