Posted on Dec 10, 2021
Last month Plano West Rotary Club (PWRC) began a partnership with Bed Start that our club hopes will continue successfully into the future.
Bed Start is a North Texas-based nonprofit that helps individuals in poverty, crisis and/or need by providing household furnishings at no cost. Individuals helped so far have included veterans, single parents, domestic violence victims, refugees, child protective service cases and more. Bed Start utilizes other local nonprofit organizations to vet and refer the individuals receiving furnishings so that true financial need has been verified.
PWRC has now committed to helping Bed Start with one of its pressing needs, which is more hands to help deliver furniture to local families.
Bed Start volunteers go out twice a week year-round to pick up donated furnishings, and then to deliver those items to households in Plano and Allen. Currently there is a list of more than 200 families waiting to receive mattresses, bedding, furniture and other large furnishings such as washers, dryers, desks and more, but on some service dates only a handful of volunteers can attend. The more people that serve alongside Bed Start, the quicker we can help fulfill the needs of these families in our community.
On Nov. 13 the first PWRC group joined Bed Start to help pick up and deliver furniture. Led by project organizer Jennifer Shertzer, a group of 11 volunteers, including Rotarians Antonio Harris, Joanna Snowden, Laura Johnson and Shannon Modlin, served a total of 37 volunteer hours.
This project fulfills two of Rotary’s Areas of Focus: providing better sanitation and hygiene as well as helping save mothers and children.
On the Nov. 13 project date, all of the recipient households our club visited had children and/or senior citizen family members who did not have beds to sleep in. They were either sleeping on floors and sofas or sharing beds before the new mattresses arrived. Bed Start reports that often the houses they enter have no beds or furniture of any kind, and sometimes children are sleeping together on soiled mattresses.
We also provided a washer and dryer to one home that did not have one to wash clothes. These households will live in much cleaner, safer conditions now.
Bed Start also reports that many of the families they have served consist of single mothers with children, and sometimes these families are the victims of domestic abuse. By providing large furnishings, we are helping these women redirect their limited funds to other items critically needed.
On Nov. 13 we also delivered teddy bears to all of the children, handmade by another local group. Bed Start reports that sometimes these toys we provide are the only ones children will own at the time.
According to project organizer Jennifer Shertzer, the individuals served on Nov. 13 were overjoyed, and some were even overcome with emotion. “They were so thankful, and some repeatedly expressed their gratitude for our service and helped us carry the furnishings inside. Two little girls gave us all hugs at the door, and one family insisted on giving us flowers and a cheesecake.”
PWRC hopes to enrich the lives of our neighbors through Rotary’s motto, “Service Above Self.” Anyone can join us one Saturday a month to roll up their sleeves and spend a few hours helping deliver much-needed household items. No one will ever be asked to carry anything they feel uncomfortable lifting, and there are lighter items such as bedding and lamps for volunteers with limited mobility.
Future delivery dates include Dec. 11, Jan. 8, Feb. 12 and more. Sign up here.