Changing Children’s Lives One Bed at a Time: Nonprofit builds beds for kids in need

Let’s Build Beds has delivered more than 1,800 beds to area children ages 3-17 since it was founded three years ago. Photos courtesy: Let's Build Beds

It’s a basic comfort most people take for granted, yet every night there are hundreds of children across the region sleeping on floors and couches because they lack beds of their own.

Let’s Build Beds is a local nonprofit established to address the issue by building and delivering beds to children ages 3 to 17 across northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. Staffed entirely by volunteers, the organization partners with churches and civic communities to host building events capable of producing as many as 60 beds in four hours.

A good night’s sleep
Let’s Build Beds has delivered more than 1,800 beds into the community since it was founded three years ago by Dan Pellizzari & Mike and Shawna Horvath.

“We saw that it was very important for children to have a bed of their own and be able to get a good night’s sleep,” says Mr. Pellizzari. “Having a bed provides them with a secure place every night where they can lay down, and that’s where they can begin to build their dreams, whether it’s the dream of the next day or the dreams of their future.”

It can also improve a child’s self-esteem and his or her ability to learn in school, he adds.

Most people are surprised when Mr. Pellizzari, who serves as director of marketing, tells them the organization has a waiting list of more than 600 kids who need beds. They are currently delivering between 15 and 30 beds every week, roughly equal to the number of requests they receive in the same period of time.

Back to building
While the pandemic temporarily paused their deliveries of beds last year, the nonprofit is now back to holding regular building events with social distancing protocols in place. Partner organizations that host the builds raise funds and collect donations to offset the costs of materials.

Mr. Pellizzari notes that Let’s Build Beds welcomes skilled and unskilled volunteers of all ages and abilities to their building events. “Everybody can bring something to the table,” he says. “Some of things that we’ve learned about improving the build process, we’ve learning from children as young as six years old.”

Beds are made on an assembly line with stations for tasks such as routering, sanding, drilling, assembling and branding each bed with the organization’s logo. Mr. Pellizzari says volunteers are always willing to help each other learn how to use new tools. Those interested in working a build can visit the organization’s Facebook page to view upcoming events. Mr. Pellizzari says volunteers sign up for shifts in two-hour increments, but often end up staying longer because they find they enjoy the experience so much.

Hope for expansion
Every finished bed includes a wooden headboard, footboard and two side rails. Let’s Build Beds also provides the mattress, sheets, blankets, pillows and comforter to go with each bed.

The nonprofit serves Lucas County and all its bordering counties. Mr. Pellizzari encourages anyone who needs a bed or knows a family that needs a bed for a child to contact them through a Facebook message or their website contact form.

Mr. Pellizzari expresses hope for seeing the charity expand beyond its initial mission of building and delivering beds to find more ways to help children grow, such as by developing a mentoring program to teach teens about the business side of the organization. He says they are eager to build partnerships among nonprofits with shared interests, and he welcomes contacts from organizations interested in hosting build events or supporting Let’s Build Beds in other ways.

To learn more, visit the organization’s website or Facebook page.