Harrison UMC- Beds Equal Dreams

BedDreams-e1435690708209What started as an idea for our Missions team at Harrison Church turned into a passion involving the church and community.  Three years while listening to one of Adam Hamilton’s podcasts we found out about the Beds For Everyone ministry at Church of the Resurrection.  Knowing we were working with several elementary schools in low income areas of Charlotte it looked like  natural for us to bring the ministry here and expand our relationship with those schools.  In the fall of 2013 we launched the ministry supporting two elementary schools in south Charlotte.

Through the ministry we have been a part of changing the lives of many children from the 5 year old who shared a bed with two other siblings to the 17 year old who had never slept in his own bed.  We have cried and laughed with the families.  We have seen beds stuffed into cars that barely held the driver.  The ministry has not only enriched the lives of the families who received the beds but the also the families who have given generously of time and resources to the ministry.

BD2Our concept goals when launching the ministry were as follows:

Build Relationships –

  • Family to family
  • The Community and the Church
  • School partnerships

Stewardship –

  • Find ways to minimize costs
  • Donations of product and services

Sustainability –

  • Plan for the long term sustainability of the program Financial stability and well timed expansion

Protect Family Dignity –

  • Pick up bed at school
  • Small donation – $10/bed (rebated to family as food gift card) Eventual participation in Build A Bed Workshop

Under building relationships – we have accomplished the goals by involving the church and community in our Build A Bed events, bedding donations, and distributions.  We knew to get involvement we needed the church and community to be an active part of the ministry.  By building our beds we found we saved not only money but had tremendous involvement and visibility.  Our last Build A Bed event had almost 130 people participating.  Additionally, our bedding (linens, blankets, pajamas, and a stuffed toy) have been donated by the church and community.  Our distributions have involved a broad spectrum of people.

Under stewardship – our goal was reduce our costs to a minimum by seeking out strategic partnerships and by designing our beds to have minimal cost associated with building them.  We were able to identify a strategic partner to donate the wood.  This made our Build A Bed vision a reality at the same time providing a platform for cost reduction.

Under sustainability – our original goal was to raise enough money to sustain the ministry through the first two hundred beds.  Afterward we would see where God lead us.  We have given out over 90 beds to date and still have sufficient funds to supply an additional 150 beds.  We are now looking at expansion through either partnering with other churches or by seeking out other Christian organizations willing to step up.  Within the last few weeks we have been contacted by several school systems and churches about the ministry.

Under protect family dignity – we knew we did not want the ministry to have the risk of toxic charity.  We require our families to pay $10 for the bed and provide transportation.  By doing this the parents/guardians can tell their child they have “bought” the bed for them.  We do return the $10 by giving them a gift card for $10 in a thank you note.

What started out as listening to a podcast is now a full time missions ministry of our church.  We want to “Give every child a chance to dream”.  The church and local community have partnered to make this a reality.  By living out our faith we have shared our faith with the families we served and the community we have served with.

To learn more about this project, check out this website:
www.harrisonchurch.org/beds-equal-dreams

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