There is a handful of residents in Chillicothe, Ohio, that may never take a good night’s sleep for granted ever again.
That’s because First Wesleyan Church has gifted over 200 beds to Chillicothe residents–a given for many, but a luxury for some.
The ministry at First Wesleyan is known as the Bed Brigade of Ross County. Every Monday night a group of men and women gather together to build “easy to set up” beds and then deliver them to families in need. Along with a bed, recipients also receive a mattress and set of bed sheets.
Bed Brigade of Ross County began as a ministry in the fall 2013. Volunteers had heard of and briefly participated in a similar ministry in another nearby town. The ministry at First Wesleyan is modeled after that one.
“It has been a privilege for so many of us at First Wesleyan because it allows us to meet a real need while introducing us to families within our community and to have prayer with them in their homes,” said Jon Welch, senior pastor who helps the crews build and deliver beds. Approximately 25 volunteers are involved with this ministry consistently. Funds are donated for each bed, and a gentleman who attends First Wesleyan donates hinges for bed frames out of his hardware store.
Requests for new beds come through social service systems, non-profits, and personal contacts. Often times, families in need of new beds include those in domestic violence situations, those who have relocated from shelters, and single parents trying to provide for their children.
One family had this to say about their new beds: “We had to walk away from everything we owned in the situation we were in before, and my kids were sleeping on the floor since we hadn’t found housing yet.” Another said: “Thank you so much! We’ve been having a hard time and it’s good to know that there are still people out there who care and will help.”
Volunteers from the church have found fulfillment in knowing they have helped meet such a basic, yet important, need in the lives of Chillicothe residents.
“It’s one of the best ministries I’ve ever been a part of for two reasons–it allows us to meet an immediate, practical need in our community while meeting new families in their home, praying with them, and trying to connect them to a church,” said Matt Hayes, Bed Brigade coordinator.
“We have seen God intervene in the lives of so many through this ministry,” said Gwen Thomas. “It has been an honor to be used by him and show his love to others. The recipients have been truly grateful for receiving these beds . . . at first we are fulfilling a basic need for them, but it has led to helping them through some of the toughest times in their lives, letting them know that God is always with them and he truly loves them.”