“Everyone should have a bed.”

The food building was formed of blue brick, the windows black-rimmed, an “OPEN” sign glowing warmly as if in invitation. On the sidewalk ahead, a small folding sign pointed towards the “6th Annual Beds and Bluegrass” inside. It was not a straightforward journey to the inner rooms that held the fundraiser itself, winding through several increasingly thin stone corridors, but soon the room came into view in all its glory. 

“I was moving families just out of homelessness into houses,” said Michael Allen, founder of My Very Own Bed, sometimes abbreviated to MVOB. “I saw kids had no beds…they were sleeping on the floor, using backpacks as pillows, and I wanted to make an impact on this issue.”

My Very Own Bed was founded six years ago, and, as a nonprofit organization, originally had to rely on donations from individuals to stay afloat.

The first thing [Michael] did was hold a fundraiser, just like this one,” said Ed Sweeney, a board member of My Very Own Bed. “And he raised several thousand dollars just from that.”

Now, My Very Own Bed has donated nearly 2,000 beds to kids in need. Each individual bed comes with a “Dream Kit,” featuring sheets, blankets, a pillow, a stuffed animal, and a book. They get donations from larger and larger corporations, and are partnered with foundations such as Wilder and the Simpson House. Even today, they still rely on volunteers to aid their bed-making.

“We get at least two people every week,” said volunteer organizer Kayle Latterell. “Five or six max. We only have three actual staff members.”

“Our goal this year was 600 beds,” said Allen. “We’ve gotten 625 so far, and we expect to get to 700 by the end of the year. Next year our goal is 725 beds.”

The space is divided up into three rooms. The central room was easily the most crowded of them all; to the side, a “silent auction” room and a children’s playroom provided some relief from the mass of volunteers. In all, around a hundred people were attending, some old, some young.

“I came to support the organization,” attendee Kevin Harris said. “The owner is an amazing person, and I love what he does.”

Volunteer Sara McGarvey offered a similar motive: “I volunteered because I believe in the mission of this organization,” she said.

Volunteers and attendants alike attend the fundraisers to show their support for the cause My Very Own Bed promotes.

The best part is when they deliver and the kids’ eyes just pop out of their heads when they see the beds…they just jump up and down on them.”

— Wanda Sweeney

“I’m the state public defender for Minnesota,” volunteer Bill Ward said. “I represent these juveniles, and I know that having a place to sleep at night makes a big difference.”

The rooms held more than just people. The silent auction offered gift cards and other goodies for increasingly large bids. In the front of the main room, a guitarist and singer had struck up a lively tune. Tables offering Dream Kits, T-Shirts, and food and drink littered the walls.

Outside, in the nearby parking lot, sat the My Very Own Bed truck, the main delivery vehicle for the organization. Many volunteers have fond memories of delivering beds in that truck.

“The best part is when they deliver,” Wanda Sweeney said, “and the kids’ eyes just pop out of their heads when they see the beds…they just jump up and down on them.”

“I meet a lot of good families,” Allen said. “There are folks you wouldn’t otherwise meet.”

“I didn’t have a bed,” volunteer DeEtta Miller said. “There were six kids, and only two little beds, and I didn’t always get a bed. So this is big for me.”

For Allen and his ever-growing collection of volunteers, My Very Own Bed is a way to address what they feel is an unanswered problem for poorer families. 

“I came because it’s a wonderful cause,” attendee Barb Bower said, “Everyone should have a bed.”