With wheels attached, a bed can do a lot — including win a race.
Family Promise of Forsyth County held its second annual Bed Race and Festival Saturday, Aug. 27 at the Creekside United Methodist Church, beginning at 9 a.m.
Nine teams participated, racing to win one of two categories: fastest bed and bed that raised the most money.
A nonprofit, Family Promise is an offshoot of the national faith-based organization dedicated to ending family homelessness.
And although Family Promise is nondenominational, 13 churches are signed on to house participating families for a week at a time on a rotating basis. Participants are served meals at the host church, which are prepared and served by volunteers.
“It was great to see various people come together and energetically, and passionately, raise money and awareness for our homeless families in Forsyth County,” said Jacob Granados, executive director of the organization.
Each racing bed was allotted four pushers and one driver. The teams raced around the track twice and the best combined times determined the winner.
Christian Brothers Automotive won fastest bed and received medals. Christ the King Lutheran Church raised the most money, bringing in more than $4,000.
The fundraiser brought in more than $17,000, but the money is still being counted. While that is less than last year’s $26,000, the net gain was about the same, Granados said.
Between racers, vendors, musicians and visitors, Granados estimated 200-300 people attended the event, which was open to the public.
Others agreed, some praising Family Promise staff, as well.
“I found the volunteer staff to be one of a kind,” one vendor said. “From check-in to check-out, I have never seen such good hustle! I was eagerly approached [and] with so much assistance in unload[ing], I’m sure we set a company record!”
Granados also said that while Family Promise is still planning on putting the funds toward a “desperately needed” new passenger van, “[we] are still looking for that great deal or for a generous offer from our community. The van is the last real piece of the puzzle we need to open our doors the first week of October.”
Family Promise transports students to school during the day while their parents attend workforce development and financial planning classes at a centralized day center, which is also where young children receive day care.
At the end of the day, students and families are transported back to the church where they’re residing.
Forsyth County has already qualified more than 200 students this year for the Homeless Education Program, according to Kim Bolivar, Homeless Education Liaison for Forsyth County Schools.
Last year, she said, the county qualified more than 630 children and youth grades K-12 for the program.
That number represents students who are defined as homeless by federal standards, which means they and their families live either in a vehicle, in a hotel, with a friend or extended family member or on the street.
Who that number does not represent are those students’ parents and their siblings who are either too young or too old to attend public school.
Granados said he was pleased that so many would come out to help children.
“There are currently over 220 homeless students in the Forsyth County public schools,” he said, “and we are thrilled that there are people who are rallying behind Family Promise to help these children and their families.”
For more information, visit familypromiseofforsythcounty.org.