A Mission to Build a Bed for Every Child

Mar 22, 2019 | Community

Many children in our communities have no bed in which to sleep, and the Build-a-Bed initiative aims to provide a quality sleeping space for every child.

In Southern Indiana, Build-a-Bed is coordinated by Metro United Way, and in Jefferson County the JCPS Office of Community Support Services takes the lead. Each works closely with area school districts whose administrators, counselors, social workers, and teachers identify the children in their schools who need beds.

At a recent Southern Indiana event for Clark and Floyd counties, the ‘build room’ at the Ivy Tech Training Facility in Jeffersonville, Indiana, was buzzing with excitement and the smell of lumber filled the air. Teams of volunteers filled the space with tools in hand, ready to assemble the bed kits in front of them. No special skills are required to build the beds: students from Prosser Career Education Center in New Albany, Indiana, had already prepped the lumber for all 150 beds by sanding, rounding edges, and pre-drilling holes. In all, more than 180 volunteers assisted in a single day to assemble beds and bedding packages. Each time a team finished a bed, they rang a bell, and the sound of those bells ringing throughout the busy room brought a rousing cheer each time.

“This is a Metro United Way program, but the work of getting these beds to the children is a true community collaboration,” said Pam Ottersbach, Southern Indiana director of Metro United Way. “It happens because people have come together to do this work. We’re already thinking about the 2019 event, where we will expand to all seven of our school districts. This is a great time to learn more about Build-a-Bed and get involved.”


Mission: The Build-a-Bed initiative, in coordination with school personnel, finds children in need and hosts build events, where beds are constructed for each individual on the list. Having a good night’s sleep is critical not only for one’s physical and mental health, but quality rest is an integral component of one’s development and academic success.

How You Can Help

  • Volunteer for an event: join a bed-build team, serve food to volunteers, or assemble bedding packets.
  • Bring your own team to help: friends from your sorority, church, work, neighborhood, or club.
  • Donate money. Here’s a breakdown:
    • $20 = one blanket
    • $50 = one mattress
    • $100 = one bed frame
    • $250 = complete set (frame, mattress, blanket) for one child
    • $1,000 = complete sets for four children
    • $5,000 = complete sets for 20 children
    • $10,000 = complete sets for 40 children

If you know of a child who needs a bed, call the school that child attends and let them know.

Contact: Clark, Floyd, and Harrison counties in Indiana – Pam Ottersbach, Southern Indiana Metro United Way 502.583.2821 or here

Contact: Jefferson county in Kentucky – Ben Langley, JCPS Community Programs 502.485.3926 or ben.langley@jefferson.kyschools.us

Extra tidbit: Here’s something else you and your family can do to change a child’s life.