MPA Students Organize Volunteer Flood Clean-Up Effort for Beds 4 Kids

In response to the devastating floods of early September, many groups and volunteers have helped clean out local homes and organizations, making a tremendous difference in Binghamton and the surrounding community. In November, a group of four students from the Public Administration program at Binghamton University organized a major flood clean-up at the Beds 4 Kids facility in Owego, NY. Beds 4 Kids is a non-profit organization that provides beds, boxsprings, and furniture to those in need at little to no cost. Since its founding in 2004, Beds 4 Kids has given away over 30,000 mattresses and boxsprings, as well as 5,000 complete bedroom sets. 

Unfortunately, the flood waters nearly filled Beds 4 Kids' 118,000 square foot building, destroying most of the beds and furniture it stored and making the facility unsafe for families to enter. Although the organization continued to give away the furniture it could, it was in great need of  help to clean out and restore the building. On November 12th, OCCT buses, paid for by the MPA GSO and ISSS department, transported 47 volunteers from Binghamton University to the Beds 4 Kids site at 10am. Volunteers provided 5 hours of assistance cleaning up the inside and outside of the facility by sanitizing lockers, removing ruined furniture, cleaning walls and shelves, and sweeping hallways in order to make the hallways sanitary for furniture to move through and improve the accessibility of outer walking areas.

"[The volunteers] did an amazing job," said Shelbi Hale, one of the four graduate students who organized the cleanup. "The building looks completely different after their hard work."

Beds 4 Kids can now resume its operations, and families in need can safely enter the facility. In a follow-up survey conducted by the organizing group, many volunteers expressed an interest in returning to Beds 4 Kids to continue the project, and most were extremely or very satisfied with the event. The student organizers were grateful for the volunteer turnout and what they were able to accomplish.

Beds 4 Kids is located in the former Owego Apalachin Middle School building on 100 Elm Street in Owego. Those interested in helping with the continuing cleanup efforts are invited to visit the facility between 8am and dark any day of the week.

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