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Nonprofit furniture bank Flourish hosts 'Running of the Beds' to raise funds, donations

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Posted at 3:47 PM, Apr 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-07 11:45:36-04

GRANDVIEW, Mo. — It's not every day you see beds on wheels. Better yet, beds on wheels zooming down a parking lot.

Flourish, a nonprofit furniture bank in Grandview, hosted a community bed race at the First Baptist Church of Grandview on Saturday morning.

Participating teams designed and built their own bed frames to speed race. From the outside, it may have seemed like a silly, friendly competition, but according to leaders with Flourish, there is a deeper meaning to the madness.

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“Today, we’re racing beds to draw attention to the fact that many people in our community don’t have a bed to sleep in and are sleeping on their floors, don’t have dishes to eat off of,” Executive Director Amy Cox said. “Housing instability is really rough right now. The cost of living … the cost of renting especially is very, very high right now.”

Flourish furnishes entire homes for families who lack essentials. Not just furniture but linens, cookware, appliances and home decor. The organization works with community social services, like domestic violence shelters, as well as immigrants, refugees and people who have been evicted or had home foreclosures.

Flourish takes donations from the community that other people are discarding or have upgraded from. With the help of its woodwork shop and sewing department, the organization refurbishes the items and places them into their new homes.

“Last year, we served 1,069 families with an entire moving truck of furniture when they came to us,” Cox said. “Our goal is to serve 1,300 families this year, and we know even that won’t meet all of the needs.”

Flourish helped Jaye O’Dell start over after she moved to Kansas City from St. Louis with nothing for a better life.

“It’s nice when you walk in your home and you have your own stuff, you have chairs to sit in and it's yours for a change. So I’m not sure where I would be without them,” O’Dell said.

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Nine teams competed in Saturday’s race. Many of them were community partners who help or benefit from Flourish.

“They actually donate a lot of furniture to our rage room and we are one of their sponsors,” said Virginia Morstatter, with Super Smash KC: Rage Room.

Competitors represented a wide range of social services in the metro, but when it came down to the “why,” they all said being community and showing up for one another is deeply needed.