By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

7th annual bed race to benefit Family Promise of Gwinnett County

The seventh annual Bed Race to benefit Family Promise of Gwinnett is scheduled for Saturday, April 23, in downtown Lawrenceville. Events begin at 10 a.m.

Family Promise of Gwinnett strives to end homelessness one family at a time. The work is done through a network of congregations and social service agencies.

The Bed Race is Family Promise’s most visible annual fund raising effort. As the name implies, it is a competition of beds that have been transformed into racing vehicles. Teams race the bed for 228 yards, including two turns, beginning from the corner of Perry and Pike Streets.

At 10 a.m. the day of the competition, beds will be judged to be sure they meet the guidelines. The racing beds must have a mattress or box springs; no air mattresses. They must have four wheels. One team member who weighs at least 100 pounds must ride on the bed throughout the race.

A parade of beds begins at 10:30 a.m. Dave Huddleston, reporter and anchor for Channel 2 Action News, will be the Grand Marshall. After the parade, teams will race in youth, adult, or clergy categories. Awards will be given for the fastest bed, funniest bed, most original design, and fundraising. For example, the 2015 most original award went to the “Stiff Competition” team from Tom Wages Funeral Home.

As of April 3, 2016, sponsors for this year’s Bed Race were Cannon United Methodist Church, Choices to You, Strictly Mechanical, ViaSat, Global Auto Solutions, Southeast Culvert, Zurn Plumbing, Centaurus Financial Inc., Atlanta Flooring Design, The Beck Law Firm, North American Power Products, and OEM Fastening Systems. The WSB-TV Family 2 Family are also sponsors including Scana Energy, Kroger, Southwest Airlines, Northside Hospital, and American Signature Furniture. Bed racing teams also seek donations for their teams.

Event organizers admit that a bed race is a silly way to address the serious issue of family homelessness. Last year Family Promise of Gwinnett served 28 families including 81 children. Families stay at local churches one week at a time. Trained volunteers provide meals and overnight hosts. During the day, adults are trained in job skills and budgeting while the children are in school. The average stay in the program last year was 55 days.

Family Promise also manages the SaltLight Center, Gwinnett County’s first emergency shelter for women and children. With help from volunteers, the shelter provides a place to sleep and take showers, in addition to dinner and breakfast. Staff attempt to connect guests to other programs for longer-term options.

For more information, see www.familypromisegwinnett.org