‘Many of them were sleeping on the floor’: Randolph County charity builds their 100th free bed for children in need

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RANDOLPH COUNTY, Ind. — Sleeping in a bed may not seem like a luxury to most, but for some children, catching some shut-eye means sleeping on the couch or floor. A Randolph County charity is doing their best to fix the problem in their county.

“Many of them were sleeping on the floor. We found that out through friends and coworkers and people in the community,” explains Tanya Malak with Sweet Dreams for Randolph County Kids, “For whatever reason, maybe their parents had a hard time, maybe employment has been involved, maybe a change in family structure that has caused them to be without a bed.”

It was just under a year ago that Sweet Dreams began building free beds for Randolph County children, and they just hit bed number 100. When they started, they weren’t even sure if there was a need, but they quickly discovered the hardships some local kids are dealing with.

“We have had over sixty on the waiting list before,” explains Tanya’s brother Jason Knasinski, adding that they have twenty beds on the waitlist now, and want everyone off the waitlist by November 21, “December 7, we delivered the first bunk bed, and the Mom sends me a picture of that little boy on the top bunk smiling from ear to ear.”

“It is a prized possession it is something that they treasure,” explains Malak, “They love it so much because it is their own. It belongs to them finally.”

It costs them about $225 dollars to build a complete wooden bed which includes the mattress, sheets and comforter. The beds are made for children ages 3 to 15.

Jessi Pettyjohn’s three children were the recipients of multiple beds, including number 100. Her family recently moved to a new home in the county, and her children’s beds didn’t make the move. They had been sleeping on the couch in the living room before she reached out for help.

“It is stressful because when they are sleeping in one small area at night when one wakes up, the other wakes up. I preach that it’s vital for kids to have the right amount of sleep,” says Pettyjohn.

She heard about the charity from a friend.

“I did think was a fake,” laughed Pettyjohn, “I was like who does that? No one just gives away a free bed? Once they get up there and see their bed, they are going to be jumping for joy.”

The charity survives off donations but has been lucky enough to team up with various local partners who have helped them gather materials at reduced costs. None the less, help is always needed. If you want to contribute head to their website.

‘We would love to be able to help the entire state, but we don’t have the resources or the manpower,” details Malak talking about donations, “[Jason has] had fifteen mattresses delivered by the UPS man in one day.”

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