By Chris McGuinness
Killeen Daily Herald
A local nonprofit group that provides furniture to those in need is looking to add a program to provide beds for children.
Furniture for Families Inc., which works with local organizations to give free furniture to families and veterans, plans to launch Beds 4 Kids in September. The program will provide new beds for school-aged children.
"The idea really came from talking to the agencies we work with," said Woody Hall, Furniture for Families executive director. "I'd say maybe a fourth or a fifth of the requests we get are for beds for young children."
Two of the organizations that currently refer people to the Furniture for Families program, Communities in Schools and the Killeen Independent School District's Homeless Awareness and Response Program, provided startling statistics that underscored the need.
There are roughly 1,200 homeless students within the district, according to information HARP provided by Furniture for Families. Roughly 2,500 children in the Central Texas area do not have a bed to sleep in, according to Communities in Schools.
"You have situations where the children are sleeping on the floor or just on quilts," said Hall, who previously worked with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas for 34 years. "It's not a good situation for them or their families."
Plans to implement Beds 4 Kids comes 18 months after Furniture for Families opened. In that time, the group, which is sponsored by the Ashley Furniture Homestore and Furniture Zone and Sleep Shop, has collaborated with 25 partner organizations to provide furniture to more than 1,200 individuals.
Hall said the number continues to grow, and said the group continues to ask for donations of "gently used" furnishings to replenish the dwindling stock in the organization's warehouse in Killeen.
"We're looking for anything you can sit on, sleep on, or eat on," he said. "Sofas, beds and dining room tables are the items we need the most, and what families ask for most often."
Hall said many of those who use the program are women and children recovering from a domestic violence situation, homeless or economically disadvantaged veterans and families coping with emergencies and disasters.
In the end, Hall said Furniture for Families issn't just about providing those in need with home furnishings, but giving them hope and peace of mind during difficult times.
"It's not just giving them a sofa or a table," said Hall. "It makes their house feel like a home, and it gives them a feeling of confidence."
Contact Chris McGuinness at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.
How to help
For more information about Furniture for Families, go to www.killeenfurnitureforfamilies.com or call (254) 702-0715.