What Works: Beds for Kids Provides Rest for Children
By: Matthew Johnson, Connectional Ministries and Communications Assistant
|Volunteers construct beds in the Tupelo First UMC Warehouse. Photo courtesey Tupelo First UMC Facebook page
Thanks to the tireless efforts of dedicated volunteers from Tupelo First United Methodist Church and the surrounding community, many children in North Mississippi now have proper beds to sleep in. Beds for Kids builds and supplies beds for disadvantaged children. The ministry, started by volunteers with a vision to help children, has changed the lives of thousands of children in need.
The Beds for Kids ministry began in 2019 by recently retired volunteers who wanted to make a positive impact in the lives of children. Approximately 12 to 15 volunteers gather during the week at a warehouse owned by Tupelo First UMC to build beds for children in North Mississippi. Organizers thought they would just be building a few beds, but to their surprise the need was greater than they anticipated.
“We thought we would build maybe five beds a month,” said ministry coordinator, Dr. Jack Foster. “As word of mouth spread social workers, school counselors and other churches kept providing more and more names in need of beds.”
The ministry builds 40 to 50 beds per month, and in 2022 built almost 900 beds. Each recipient receives a bed complete with frame, mattresses and bedding, in addition to a children’s Bible and prayer with the volunteers.
“When we leave that house, that bed is ready to sleep in, and that’s the best part of Beds for Kids,” said Foster.
Rev. Rusty Keen, pastor at Tupelo First, is thankful for the ministry and the positive effect it has had on children.
“Just the smile and light you see in the eyes of the children is amazing,” said Keen. “We are thankful for this amazing ministry and are pleased that it’s growth has been tremendous.”
|Beds for Kids volunteer spends time with a family after a delivery.
Beds For Kids can be started in any community. Dr. Foster encourages those interested in starting the ministry to come see their operation and reach out to them. The success of the program is also due to the generosity of donors, contributions from other churches, sawmills, mattress outlets and financial sponsors all help make the achievements of the ministry possible. Foster welcomes donations of children’s Bibles and bedding. If you or your church are interested in starting a Beds for Kids ministry reach out to Dr. Jack Foster by text at 662.231.4095.
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What Works is a series featuring ministries across the conference and throughout the connection that are vital and thriving at serving their communities. Mission and ministry featured in this segment can also be implemented into your faith community’s missional strategies.