Bed Race focuses on Springfield homeless

HOW TO GO

What: Third Annual Interfaith Hospitality Network Bed Race

Where: Downtown Core Bock, Springfield

When: Saturday, June 4, 5 to 9 p.m.

Admission: Free

More info: 937-325-8154 or www.theihn.com/index.html

Interfaith Hospitality Network’s homeless shelters are at capacity nearly daily and one way it reduce homelessness is with beds.

The area offers numerous creative local fundraisers, so Interfaith came up something different — a Bed Race in which several businesses customize beds to compete in several different events in the spirit of fun.

Elaina Bradley, executive director of Interfaith, said there are three components to the Bed Race: raise funds to support the homeless, educate the public about homelessness, and bring the community together.

The third annual Bed Race will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday in the downtown core block. The free event will feature bed races from 5 to 7 p.m., followed by live music and a D.J. until 9 p.m. Food and beverage vendors will be onsite.

The event has gotten bigger each year, Bradley said, drawing 300 to 400 people. It’s a way for the community to have fun, bring some focus to downtown and help this daily problem that doesn’t end when the music stops, she said.

Homelessness isn’t necessarily the stereotype of someone begging on a street corner. Since 2015 one of the growing areas of those needing shelter are working people who just aren’t making enough to support themselves or their families, she said.

“They may be serving you or working for you, and you would never know it,” Bradley said. “Someone may just need a helping hand.”

Interfaith receives 70 percent of its money from grants, the rest from fundraisers such as the Bed Race.

Monies from the fundraisers go toward items including clothing, bus passes, gas cards, children’s shoes and medical needs.

Bradley said the average stay at Interfaith’s two shelters is less than 30 days; the maximum allowed is 90 days.

A case manager also works with those staying in the shelter to overcome their barriers. Other programs find assistance and rehousing, and provide up to six months of follow-up service to those who leave the shelter.

“The goal is to help them face the challenges, for their stays to be brief and non-recurring,” Bradley said.

Having a good donor base is key, she said. That ranges from monetary donations to volunteering to helping with drives for hygiene items such as soap and deodorant. Common household items in good shape are always in demand.

“There’s a multitude of things anyone can do to help,” Bradley said.

For more information on the Bed Race or how to help with Interfaith’s services, call 937-325-8154.