Over 250,000 children are placed in foster care each year, as reported by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. Though foster homes provide a safe-haven for children in need, the unpredictable nature of the child services system means many families report they don’t have a bed for incoming kids. Recently, over 100 Re-Bath franchisees teamed up with Project Build-A-Bed coordinators to construct and donate beds for children in need.
Project Build-A-Bed is a community-developing non-profit whose mission is to give children in the foster care system a new bed they can call their own. Started in 2013 by CEO Dan Shufelt, the organization is a labor of love, founded in honor of Dan’s late sister. Each bed is built by a team of volunteers and includes a twin mattress, sheets, pillows, and decorations so that children can make the beds their own.
In the first month of Project Build-A-Bed, the team built and donated less fewer than ten beds. Fast-forward four years to November of 2017, when over 100 beds were built and given away, due in no small part to volunteers and corporate donations. In addition to increased volunteer numbers, a large tax credit has driven a massive increase in funding. So far, the project’s best year (2014) reached over three million dollars in operating capital, a surge of over 200% compared to their first year.
Volunteers are organized in teams of 8-10 and given the raw materials to make a bed, including sheets, paint, and decorations. According to Build-A-Bed staff, the supplies for each twin bed retails for nearly $600. Beds take approximately three hours to finish from assembly to paint.
After completing the assembly and painting process, Re-Bath volunteers helped recipients decorate their beds. As a final personal touch, team members wrote personal notes of encouragement on the frame. As children are placed in permanent homes, they get to take their bed with them. More than just a place to sleep, having a bed to call their own provides a sense of normalcy for foster kids experiencing traumatic life changes.