A child’s greatest need is love. As parents and caregivers, we show them love by meeting their needs. In March of 2018, The Shepherd’s House in Wausau found an un-met need for the children in their community – they needed beds. But the number of beds needed was a shocking discovery!
Why are there so many kids without beds? There are several reasons:
1) Substance abuse – parents are spending money on addictions instead of their child’s needs
2) Poverty – parents are too poor to afford essentials
3) Neglect – parents put their wants before their child’s needs
4) Eviction – families generally leave everything behind when evicted
5) Foster care
6) Safe housing – mother’s leave everything behind when they seek safe shelter
7) Unclean living conditions; children are sleeping in smoke filled homes or on mattresses that are infested with bed bugs or fleas
When this was discovered, an idea to let these kids know Jesus loves them was presented to the church. The Shepherd’s House leaped in with unwavering faith and agreed to provide beds to the children in need. They problem solved along the way until the Beds for Kids program was put in place.
Beds for Kids insists on providing the kids with brand new beds and bedding because it sends the message that they are worthy of it and that someone cares about their dignity.
Program director, Jamie Fisher recalls, “I will never forget our very first bed delivery to a four-year-old little girl, Trisha. When we walked into her apartment, they had a very old and worn mattress on the living room floor, a small end table in the living room with a dog chained to it, a mattress in her parent’s bedroom, and one doll house in her bedroom. That’s it. Her dad was sleeping on the living room floor mattress so Trisha could sleep on the other mattress with her mom. This dad was just as excited as Trisha was, if not more, that his daughter now had a bed of her own!”
God gives us specific instructions to serve others and help those in need. He doesn’t say we have to do it alone, though. It is mind-blowing how He has provided both time and money for this program, with impeccable timing!
This program is about so much more than community service. It’s about the sacrifice many people make to keep it going and their empathy for these children. Church members see that their children are learning to be missionaries, evangelizing through friendship. Many have found purpose in organizing the bedding closet, donating bedding, and putting together personalized gift bags for each child. The kids look forward to collecting a Lamb’s Offering every Sabbath and the church family is equally excited about putting money in their baskets! And the community knows who that church on the hill is now!
Beds for Kids was started in March 2018 and as of May 2022, the program has provided 466 beds to children in the community who were sleeping on the floor, with a parent, on the couch, in the car, or on milk crates.
Does Jesus love these children? Absolutely! He has continued to provide the Beds for Kids program with everything they need to help them, including endurance. Does Jesus love us? Absolutely! He continues to send His Holy Spirit into our hearts to help spread His love.
We rise by lifting and loving others! Let us rise together in Jesus’ love for us and share it with those who need to find hope in it. This program is a testament to teamwork, support, and praying for one another.
The work in the community to spread Jesus’ love is not over, it has just begun!
Jamie Fisher, Beds for Kids Director