Costumed racers go to mattresses for local charity

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Move over, Atlanta Motor Speedway. The square in downtown Lawrenceville is also becoming home to racing of another kind.

Thanks to Family Promise of Gwinnett County, the Bed Race celebrated the organization's fundraising efforts to eliminate homlessness and provide safety and stability to children and families throughout the county.

On a sunny Saturday that set a perfect stage following Friday night's storms, the second edition of the Bed Race will raise nearly $10,000 total, including nearly $7,000 from the 13 participating teams.

And for a second straight year, the Grateful Bed came away from the charity race a winner. The Grateful Bed -- representing the Wesley Class of Lawrenceville United Methodist Church along with Sommers Plumbing and Ingleside Presbyterian Church -- held off the Bat Mobile in the championship.

But the real winners are the children and families who benefit from this fun-filled event.

Family Promise has been successful in placing over 85 percent of all families into housing with employment. And of the 163 Family Promise networks across the nation, Gwinnett County's organization ranks in the top eight nationally in only its sixth year of existence.

That's certainly a great reason to bring out folks like Lawrenceville mayor Judy Jordan Johnson, U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall and David Chandley of WSB-TV, who served as grand marshal of the pre-race parade as well as race announcer.

"What a great way to spend a beautiful day helping to support something like Family Promise and all the positive things this organization does," said Chandley. "I live in Gwinnett County and (Family Promise of Gwinnett County) asked me to help out this year and I was happy to do. It is for a great cause and I hope it continues to grow."

In the third-place adult race, The Community knocked off Bed of Moses. Meanwhile, Choir Boys won the youth race over Baby's Bedtime while The Cat In The Hat's Thinga-ma-jigger held off the Holy Rollers for third place.

The People's Choice Award went to the Grateful Bed, Funniest Bed to Baby's Bedtime, Most Original Design to The Community and fundraising award to Grateful Bed for compiling a one-team total of $3,220.

"We're very happy with the way today turned out," said Family Promise of Gwinnett executive director Brent Bohanan. "We increased the number of beds that participated and that means that we increased our donations, so that's something we're excited about. We've only held this event for two years, so we're hopeful that it will continue to grow and serve our community."

Along with the Bed Race, Family Promise of Gwinnett also hosted a Fanatic Fan Fundraiser on Saturday night at the Atlanta Marriott Gwinnett Place that featured a silent auction.

"This event (Bed Race) is such a great way to give back and help out those people who are less fortunate," said Ann Childers of race-winning Grateful Bed. "We hope it will be something that becomes a regular event every year. It's just such a fun way to do something good."

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