Traditionalists believe the bed is only good for nighttime snoozes. Family Promise is challenging the idea and putting wheels to their protest in the Third Annual Bed Race.
The event is a once-a-year racing extravaganza where teams go head-to-head dashing along First Street toward victory. This year will find vendors, door prizes and races at First Street Square on Saturday, Sept. 21.
Teams are made up of five people: four runners and one rider. A bracket system determines who continues through the ranks and who is eliminated. Currently there are two challenges on the table. Don Ledford Automotive has issued a challenge against all other car dealers, which Toyota of Cleveland has answered. Incredible Detail from Dayton has challenged any other car detail shops.
Each team is charged a $100 registration fee. Spread across five people, the fee is $20 each. Family Promise volunteer Diana Whittle suggested teams find sponsors. She said it would even be possible for one team to find sponsorship from 20 people for $5 each.
All proceeds will go toward Family Promise of Bradley County. The local organization is dedicated to eradicating underage homelessness by aiding the family unit. Families spend more than two months in the program traveling between host churches at night and the nonprofit’s Day Center.
Parents must follow a set plan while in the program. This often includes budgeting, parenting and life skills lessons. Both are encouraged to find a job.
Whittle explained the program gives families a break for a couple of months. It allows them to save up money for the deposit on housing and first month’s rent.
“You are not going to see [the people we work with] on the streets,” Whittle said. “They are bustling their tails everyday. They can’t get ahead because they are making minimum wage.”
She said registration fees and donations will go toward covering costs at the Day Center.
“We can’t kick [participants] out during the day. They need access to a phone, they need a mailing address and a place to kick their feet up when they are not working,” Whittle said. “When you get off work, you just want to lay back.”
According to Whittle, Family Promise relies heavily on donations — money, time and items. Funds raised through the Bed Race will be used to cover costs of needed items for families, like laundry detergent.
“These are people who just need a helping hand. It is not just a bum standing on the corner of the street with a sign. That is not the kind of people we are dealing with,” Whittle said. “We are not dealing with drug and alcohol people who prefer to live on the streets. These are kids who do not have a choice. They can’t go out and help Mom and Dad raise money.”
Those interested in racing do not necessarily have to build their own bed. Family Promise can either provide or assist with the basic bed frame.
Whittle suggested writing a note at the top of the application for those who need help with the bed frame or wheels.
Added Whittle, “So many people will not participate because they don’t know where to begin with the bedframe.”
Murmaid Mattress is also providing the event with a certain number of box springs for those interested.
Anyone interested in enjoying the Bed Race and craft vendors are encouraged to attend. A list of the vendors include: Origami Owl Jewelry; Jessica Klaaren jewelry; Marita Hensel jewelry; Sharon Johnson Tupperware; Select Realty; hair bows, headbands and key fobs with Eulalia Moreno; Back in Motion Chiropractic; Dixon’s Dawes (hot dog cart); ruffle scarf and crochet necklaces with Nancy Graham; Grimy Girl Soap; Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition; Canyon Candles with Nancy Sharon; and Avon.
Door prizes from a number of area locales will also be given out throughout the event. They include: Applebee’s, Supercuts, Auto Zone, Jordan’s BBQ, O’Charleys, Quiznos Sub, Firehouse Subs, Papa Murphy’s, BonLife Coffee Shop, Steak ‘n Shake, SantaFe Cattle Co. and OK Maguey’s.
Details, rules and forms at www.familypromisebradley.org. For more information, contact Whittle at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling her at 423-650-4106.