Racing beds to fight homelessness

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -- When you climb into bed its usually to relax and get a good nights sleep, but in Gainesville the 4th annual bed race had all in attendance woke.

Now what exactly is a bed race?

Here's the answer to that question, and the explanation about how it's helping to put homeless families into permanent homes:

The bed race was created to help the Family Promise Foundation, which is celebrating its 20th year in Gainesville.

Executive Director Jayne Moraski explained how a bed race ties into this organization: "We rotate our families who are needing a home in between different faith congregations around town so our beds are literally on wheels for our shelter. So this race symbolizes our shelter and what we do to help families indeed."

Family Promise is not a faith based organization, but they help families stay at churches and receive help from volunteers.

"Every night of the year its all volunteer run. They come and folks provide them dinner and their basic needs, if they need diapers for their kids, whatever it is," Moraski said. "Then during the day they work with their case manager and she helps them find jobs, find houses and remain stably housed."

The bed race is an exciting way to not only raise money but also awareness, and those who participate go all out with themed racing beds and costumes like the Cat in the Hat and Moana.

Jonathan Turner was a push runner and dressed as Maui for the Moana team, and Melinda DeLuna played Moana herself riding on the bed.

"Moana her whole inspiration is to save her home and her island and you know Family Promise is about saving homes so it just kind of made perfect sense. Moana, she has a story to tell and is very passionate so we brought that here and used it as our theme today."

4 runners push the bed, with one rider, 100 yards, and whoever has the fastest time wins a trophy. This year's winners, "Dads in Plaid," have won twice in the past 3 years.

Tim Martin, the teams rider told us the keys to victory and creating a winning race bed: "We've put a lot of effort into constructing our bed and doing what we can to make sure it doesn't fall apart and I think the not falling apart piece and the running fast piece are the keys to our success."

"We just found all the scrap wood laying around in the garage and hammered it together, took apart some bicycles and crossed our fingers."

Last year, Family Promise helped 120 people find stable homes and since it started in 1998 have helped 1600 people.