Volunteer Coordinator Diana Whittle proudly proclaimed the number of teams has more than doubled from last year’s five.
This year’s event will take place Saturday, Sept. 21, at the First Street Square in Downtown Cleveland. Check-in will begin at 11 a.m. with the grand parade and judging taking place at noon.
Races will begin at 1 p.m. with door prizes being handed out throughout the afternoon.
Family Promise is a nationwide organization dedicated to helping homeless children by taking care of their entire families. The local branch has worked to service homeless families in Bradley County since 2010. A network of churches provides resources for the families and acts as host homes on a weekly rotation.
Parents must meet certain requirements to stay in the program. Those who are able are expected to find a job. Spending nights with host churches and days at the local Day Center allows families to save money for their own place. Additional lessons in budgeting and parenting are also provided.
Family Promise director Eva VanHook said all funds raised through the Bed Race will go toward Family Promise.
“For every $1 donated to Family Promise, the families receive about $3 worth of services,” VanHook explained. “This is due to the free space provided by the churches and the many services offered in the community. We are able to provide a whole lot with very little cost.”
The second annual Bed Race in 2012 found the nonprofit’s fundraising event with only a handful of teams and one vendor.
The spike in community involvement alongside 26 vendors is a lot for Whittle to comprehend.
“The number of beds and the number of sponsors have just been unreal,” Whittle said of the increased numbers.
Local churches and businesses caught the spirit of competition. Several began issuing challenges in the months leading up to the event. Businesses like Don Ledford Automotive Center and Larry Hill Ford plan to go head-to-head in a race for bragging rights.
VanHook said she is excited to see how the beds are decorated.
Added Whittle, “The engineers at Ledford have been working on their bed for months.”
Contestants have the opportunity to place in two categories: best themed and fastest bed.
SkyRidge Imaging took home the honors for best decorated with their skeleton-themed gurney at last year’s event. VanHook said groups often keep their beds well under wraps until the day of the event.
“I just think it is going to be neat this year,” Whittle said. “I think the judges will have their work cut out for them.”
Judges chosen to determine the best decorated bed-mobile will be Ed Ramsey of My Mix 104.1; David Davis of the Cleveland Daily Banner; Ramon Travis of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church; and Tim Bracken of First United Methodist Church.
Both VanHook and Whittle urged those interested in participating in the day’s events to put together a team before race day. Both beds and box springs could be provided for a team of five with the $100 entry fee. Youth ages 7 to 14 may also join the Junior Bed race with an entry fee of $10.
Vendors for the event will be spread throughout the First Street Square.
Whittle explained the 26 tables will host a variety of goods from jewelry to food. Some vendors include: Thirty-One gifts; Tupperware; Grimy Soap Girl; Lupi’s Pizza; Dixon’s Dawes hot dog cart; Avon; Origami Owl Jewelry; Kettle Korn; Nancy Graham’s ruffle scarves and crochet necklaces; and Back in Motion Chiropractic.
Door prizes are being provided by a number of community partners like: Gabriel’s, Steak and Shake, Jordans BBQ, Quiznos Subs, Firehouse Subs, Applebees, and Cooke’s among others.
Whittle added there will also be a clown, face painting and sack-cloth races for children.
More information on the event can be found at www.familypromisebradley.org or by calling 650-4106.