Ministry to homeless families has upcoming fundraiser
By ALLISON KENNEDY
There’s rolling out of bed and then there’s rolling a bed, jogging with it down the street.
A local ministry that supports homeless families will benefit from the third annual Valley Interfaith Promise Bed Race, slated for noon Feb. 26. Valley Interfaith Promise, or VIP, was founded in 2006. At weekly intervals, homeless families stay in local congregations. Thirteen congregations currently provide shelter.
The families receive meals and housing for up to three months, during which time they look for work and permanent shelter. Children in the families are transported to school, if the family doesn’t have transportation.
Though this month’s race isn’t the largest fundraiser for VIP, it is the most visible.
“It’s more about community awareness and it helps us with promotion,” said executive director Victor Feliciano.
Teams can sign up between now and the event, though Feliciano would encourage people not to wait until the last minute. It costs $100 to bring a team.
The nonprofit ministry’s primary fundraiser is a direct mail campaign in the fall.
The beginning of the bed race is on 14th Street next to the new YMCA. Racers will race the beds about 125 yards. Three categories are available for competition: business, church and family/friends. The third is a new category. Competitors in the main races need to be 14 and older but a sub-group is for people 14 and younger.
“This newest one allows for younger people to participate, and also there will be a crowd’s choice award for $1 per vote,” Feliciano said.
The VIP program saw a 92 percent success rate last year, he added. That means most of the families located employment and housing.
In the five years he’s run VIP, Feliciano has spotted a trend: Families call or apply most often before or after the school year; the winter months see fewer people, which has to do with tax returns, he speculated.
“They get their money back -- say, between $2,000 and $4,000 -- and they use that money to stay afloat. April or May begins our peak time,” he said.
As for the race, Feliciano knows of 10 teams planning to compete and he’s hoping for more -- 12 to 16.
“There’s not a limit to the teams,” he said. “We don’t want to turn people away.”
The rain date is March 5. Call 706-494-6348.
Allison Kennedy, 706-576-6237