Motoring mattresses

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

LAWRENCEVILLE -- For five years, Family Promise of Gwinnett County has provided beds to homeless families.

On Saturday, teams raced beds around the Lawrenceville square to raise awareness of the growing number of families in the county that have no place to sleep.

"We raced beds for those who don't have beds," said Brent Bohanan, the executive director of Family Promise of Gwinnett County.

Ten teams participated in the first Bed Race, a fundraiser that celebrated Family Promise of Gwinnett County's fifth anniversary. The organization is an affiliate of Family Promise, a hospitality network created to help homeless families achieve sustainable independence.

"People are tremendously important," said Karen Olson, the founder of the national organization. "We can address a huge national issue by working together."

Family Promise of Gwinnett County partners with local churches to provide shelter, meals and support services to families without homes. Host churches provide lodging and food for the families on a rotating weekly basis.

"Family Promise is a great organization, and we just want to bring attention to the great work they do in the community," said Eric Moore, who raced with team Bed Heds. "I hope this is the start of a great annual tradition."

Bed Heds was one of two teams created by First United Methodist Church of Lawrenceville, a Family Promise host church. The other team was Grateful Bed, which placed first in the race.

"This was such a good thing to do and such a wonderful opportunity to raise money for Family Promise," Grateful Bed team member Ann Childers said. "It was one of the most fun things we've done."

Grateful Bed, which raised more than $2,000, was a '70s-themed bed. Team members wore bright colored tie-dyed T-shirts.

Childers said the team prepared for the race for a couple of months. First, they had to design the bed, which one team member had to sit on during the race while it was pushed by the other team members. After they built the bed, they had a couple of practice runs.

"It's just a great feeling to be part of something to enhance Family Promise," Childers said. "The awareness of it all is the best part."

Other churches that created teams included Church of the Redeemer Presbyterian, Snellville United Methodist Church and Church of the Way.

A Flintstones-themed bed, Bed Rock, was created by a team formed by Lawrenceville resident Nancy Tijerina.

Tijerina said she received a pamphlet about Family Promise and asked some friends if they wanted to participate in the Bed Race.

"We wanted to be a part of it," she said. "It was fun."