Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Local Need Local Care.

As Sweet Sleep continues to serve orphaned and abandoned children overseas, let’s not lose site of what the Lord is doing right here in the United States through Sweet Sleep!  Children within our own context are without beds due to bed bugs, abandonment, or lack of space. Beds are a huge need and we eagerly wait on the Lord as he continues to open doors wherever he leads.

Rees Greenman, a Linkage Coordinator from the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS), took some time to share of the partnership that has been formed between DCS and Sweet Sleep.

I got involved with Sweet Sleep through The Middle Tennessee Orphan Alliance also known as MTOA.  Whenever we have an "out of the box" need for families struggling with poverty issues such as beds we tend to send them to MTOA.  Beds have been one of those reoccurring needs.  With bed bugs running rampant through Middle Tennessee it has been a need that has been increasing every year.  Donations of beds have been harder to find because fewer locations take beds due to bedbugs.  We had a lead a few years ago from a hotel who wanted to "donate" several hundred mattresses to us but after doing some research we found that they were bed bug infested and were trying to just get a tax right off.  So finding beds for families has been very difficult. 
 Last year we received 67 mattresses in June or July.  By March they had all been given out to families in need.  These mattresses have helped families prevent having their children come into state custody or have helped children exit state custody and get to go home.  Beds were one of the puzzle pieces needed to prevent or reunite a family.  Beds alone are not the only reason why children come into state custody.  It can however be a reason why children can't go home or go stay with family or friends while the parents work on issues around reunification. 

The day(s) that we received mattresses this year our primary volunteers on the first day I like to call Shane Pass day (Shane Pass is the children's minister at Clearview Baptist Church, Franklin, TN).  He single handedly got a group of about 6 or 7 volunteers to help with 2 trucks and 1 trailer to move mattresses.  We also had a box truck that was donated by a local moving truck rental place.  He is also a recent adoptive father.  It took nearly all day to move about 300 mattresses and I could not have done it without their help.

The next mattress moving day I received a ton of help from Showhope's "The Movement"  These are high school age youth who want to make an impact in orphan care/foster care.  There were 9 youth plus their leader extraordinaire Chris Wheeler.  We moved 150 mattresses in a matter of about 2 and a-half-hours. 

Since receiving these mattresses we have been able to, in the words of Karen Purvis, say "Yes".  Whenever there has been a need for a family in DCS's attention or not who needs a bed we have been able to say yes, come and get it.  We have moved the blessings of mattresses as far as Robertson County and some more in Cookeville.  We have given mattresses to organizations that say "Yes" to families in poverty that we are unaware of through Madison 7th Day Adventist Community Center and Lake Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Antioch. 
The need for beds here in Middle Tennessee is larger than I would have every guessed.  Who knew that Case Managers would drive an hour and a half for beds for their clients?  We are appreciative of our relationship with Sweet Sleep and are forever grateful for Sweet Sleep making it possible for us to tell families, "Yes" your children can come home.

Thanks Rees, for your friendship and partnership with Sweet Sleep.  Knowing Sweet Sleep is being used to help children right next door is something to Praise the Lord for.  Join us as we pray for more opportunities to share with children right here in our own area the joy and contentment of a good night's sleep.

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