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Men of Lake Oconee and First UMC deliver smiles this holiday season

December 24, 2021 - 00:00
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    File Photo from Lakelife Magazine

Kids. Beds. Smiles. That sequence has played out so many times over the last few months in Greene and Putnam Counties that it’s getting hard to keep track.

Naturally, one might wonder what the impetus is behind the joy of a child with a new bed. The answer: Men of Lake Oconee (MLO) and its partnership with the mission team at Greensboro First United Methodist Church (GFUMC).

Shortly after Men of Lake Oconee was formed in the late summer of 2020 with the mission to provide a hand-up to local families, Shannon Osborne (one of MLO’s founders) was made aware of a little-known need in our local communities: children that didn’t have a bed of their own and routinely slept on the floor, a couch, or in a small bed with parents and/or siblings.

After some additional investigative work, Osborne was shocked to learn of the number of children in Greene and Putnam Counties that slept somewhere other than a bed of their own. Following a conversation with fellow MLO member and GFUMC member Jim Whitaker, Beds for Kidz was born in the spring of 2021 as a project within Men of Lake Oconee, and a partnership was formed with the GFUMC mission team.

Whitaker and Osborne now lead the all-volunteer MLO and GFUMC teams in building and delivering beds to those families that have children without beds of their own. Whitaker describes the basic operation this way: “Volunteers work together to handcraft headboards, footboards and bed rails for each bed. Then after the requesting families are contacted, delivery teams transport and assemble the new beds in the home so each child can enjoy a bed of their own.”

Moreover, the Beds for Kidz team – in addition to building and delivering the beds – also provide a new mattress and bedding at the time of delivery so the child has a ‘ready-to-sleep’ set-up after the delivery team finishes their work.

As the end of 2021 approaches, the Beds for Kidz team is proud to announce that they will have built and delivered – in a span of eight months – a total of 75 beds to more than 49 families. In addition, when the calendar turns to January and work begins in the new year, there will be more than 22 requests for new beds to get the team started. It’s already shaping up to be a very busy 2022.

Men of Lake Oconee and the Greensboro First United Methodist Church Mission Team will continue to lead this program for families with children in the Lake Oconee area that need a bed of their own. These two community partners – working together – are ‘giving every child a place to dream.’

More kids. More beds. More smiles!

To learn more about Beds for Kidz, and/or suggest a qualified recipient, contact project leaders: Shannon Osborne at rshannonosborne@icloud.com or Jim Whitaker at jwwgobucks@aol.com.

For more information on Men of Lake Oconee – or to join or make a donation – please contact Bob Massey at bob@foundationrs.com.

The mission of Men of Lake Oconee is to provide assistance to need-based and qualified individuals and families from Greene and Putnam Counties for specific and verified necessities – a handup, not a handout. Moreover, MLO often provides that assistance by partnering with our local organizations, which allows everyone to do more – together – than could be done alone.