The Bed of Moses team was the winner of the bed races at the Spring Green Festival held in Lawrenceville on Saturday. Cliff Ramos (Moses) and Jim Gassman, Ben Davis, Alex Paucar and Trevor Ramos successfully won for the second consecutive year. (Photo: Robin Reuter)
LAWRENCEVILLE — The Holy Rollers, Stiff Competition, Greased Lightnin’, Bed of Moses, G.I. Judy and Pigs in a Blanket raced through the streets of Lawrenceville on Saturday to raise money in the fifth annual Family Promise Bed Race to help homeless women and children in Gwinnett County.
The entries were among 21 sponsored contestants that pushed humorously named and decorated wheeled beds through three sides of the downtown square as hundreds of spectators cheered them on.
“This is a great event to not only raise money but to raise awareness for our organization,” said Chuck Ferraro, Network Director of Family Promise of Gwinnett County Inc. “Homelessness is increasing gradually in Gwinnett because more people are coming into the county from other areas.
“… We have room for up to 40 beds,” he said of future races, “so we are working to get more business and corporate sponsorships to raise or visibility and to raise money.”
Family Promise is a 9-year-old Lawrenceville-based coalition of 32 churches and businesses that provide up to three months of temporary housing for displaced women and children along with assistance in finding employment, getting transportation and addressing education and medical needs. It has aided more than 500 people, including more than 100 children, throughout the area.
Ferraro said sponsorships from the annual Bed Race has raised $35,000 and will be used for the program operations and the Saltlight Center which is an emergency shelter for women and children. He also said some revenue will be used for after care services sometimes needed after recipients leave Family Promise.
“We help them find resume writers and interview clothes,” Ferraro said of the after care. “We also help them with getting certified in some classes. And some money will go toward more fundraising efforts.”
Lawrenceville Mayor Judy Johnson donned a camouflaged hat to ride in a bed she sponsored titled “G.I. Judy.” It was pushed by four members of the First Baptist Church of Lawrenceville. The mayor praised Family Promise and its bed race sponsors for their support of the homeless along with vendors and spectators who made the city’s Fourth annual New Lawrenceville Spring Green Festival possible.
“A number of people have been asking me why members of the city council are not pushing me around the square in the race today,” she joked with a wide smile. “But I guess that you’ll have to ask them.”
The competition was divided into three categories for Adults, Youth and Clergy which was given its own category for the first time because of the large number of church sponsorships. The adult and youth winners were given plaques and the clergy winner was given a traveling trophy of a wheeled bed that will be passed yearly to each winning church.
“It will be so the preacher can put it on the pulpit beside him when he preaches,” one spectator joked of the trophy.
The winners of the bed race were: Most Original Design went to “God is Good” by Westminster Presbyterian Church, Funniest Design went to “Boogie Bed” of Lawrenceville Presbyterian Church, Top Fundraiser for Youth was the Westminster Racing Team of the Westminster Presbyterian Church and the Top Fundraiser for Adults went to “Pigs in a Blanket” by the First United Methodist Church of Lawrenceville which raised $13,070.
The People’s Choice Award went to “Boogie Bed” of Lawrenceville Presbyterian Church. First place in the Youth Division went to Young Guns of the Norcross First United Methodist Church and first place in the Adult Division was “Bed of Moses” by the Men’s Bible Study.
And the 2014 Clergy Winner was Norcross United Methodist Church.
Clyde Strickland, a local philanthropist who has been a major donor to the Gwinnett Medical Center, was at a vendor booth for the Georgia Expo and praised the efforts of businesses, churches and residents who turned out to support the fundraising effort.
“Anytime we can get people to turn out on the square and turn out on a beautiful day like this and learn about Georgia and Gwinnett County and about God’s blessings it’s unbelievable,” Strickland said. “And that’s what I see out here today, people rejoicing in his blessing.”