Before we met homeless teen Big Mike of The Blind Side, and discovered that the future NFL standout “never had his own bed,” there were already hundreds of children in and around Richmond who had never slept in a bed.
This resonated with Jenny Jones of Midlothian six years ago. That’s when she founded Beds For Kids, a local organization with a mission to provide beds for children in need – children who ordinarily might sleep on a couch every night, or on the floor.
Jenny recalls tucking her own children in bed one cold winter night, pulling the thick comforter up around them, and fluffing the pillow around their heads. “Among all the worries a parent carries every day, providing a bed for my children was not one of them,” the mother of two said.
Now she and her husband, Keith Jones, help other parents and caregivers have the same experience with their children.
Keith recently delivered beds to a young military family. The father was deployed in April and the family moved to the area to obtain military housing. Keith says the young parents had no furniture and little resources. “They had two young daughters who had been sleeping on the floor since April,” said Keith. “Thanks to a partnership with Operation Homefront, this family now has beds to sleep on.”
Keith has also delivered beds to families where both parents have been laid off and are currently unemployed. “These families have to choose daily between feeding their children or giving them furniture to sleep on,” said Keith.
Research shows, and parents well know, that children of all ages need quality sleep, and that sleep deprivation affects how children learn and play the next day. The philosophy behind Beds For Kids is a universal one: Children have very little control over their current situations. “Our only goal is to help provide a safe and secure environment for these children,” Jenny said. “It isn’t about the parents or their surroundings or how much money a family does or doesn’t have.”
Beds For Kids has grown over the years, but the bed requests continue to outweigh the donations.
“We’ve been able to provide over a hundred beds since January 2011 – everything from bunk beds, to twin beds, to cribs,” Jenny said. Partnering with corporate and church groups, the organization puts an average of twenty volunteers a month to work, delivering beds to clients.
“All we want is to make sure that every call for a bed that we receive is answered with a bed for the child in need,” Jenny said. “Every day I worry about the children on our waiting list.”