Salem State Students and alumni grabbed the drills, sandpaper, and paint brushes to ensure a good night’s sleep for 50 children along the North Shore on Dec. 4 when the Vikings Build A Bed Challenge came to the Gassett Fitness Center.
Fifty pairs of Salem State students or alumni from various clubs, teams, organizations, and classes came together to build, sand, and paint a bed in one hour. The goal was to build 50 beds in a four-hour period, which will help ensure a good night’s sleep for 50 children living in poverty in the North Shore area.
The Vikings Build-a-Bed Challenge is sponsored by the Salem State’s Center for Civic Engagement, the Athletics Department, A Bed for Every Child, The Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, and St. Jean’s Credit Union. These 50 beds will join an additional 200 beds to be delivered to children in need by the end of the month.
"A bed is something many of us take for granted, so for our students to have this opportunity to help ensure a good night sleep for 50 children in our community who live in poverty exemplifies the meaning of “The Salem State Way”. When these children lay their heads down for their first night's sleep on their new bed, it will be a wonderful feeling for our students to know that their efforts played an active role in addressing a very important social justice issue facing families living in Massachusetts." said Cynthia Lynch, director of the Salem State Center for Civic Engagement.
This campus-wide initiative was created in response to November being hunger and homelessness awareness month, and was designed to highlight the challenges of poverty many families on the North Shore face. According to the Center for American Progress, Currently, Massachusetts experiences one of the highest rates of homelessness in the United States, with 13.3 percent of children under the age of 18 living below the poverty line.
In addition to the event, a crowdfunding page was created to raise money for beds and accessories with sponsorship levels ranging from $10 to $250. Donations will be used to buy books, stuffed animals, pillows, sheets, comforters, bed bundle sets, and beds.
The Center for Civic Engagement serves as an integral partner within the greater community striving to creatively address local, regional, and global challenges. This program plays an active role in addressing a social justice challenge that directly impacts the residents of the North Shore.