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Morning Sun
  • Bunk beds benefit others

  • Selling used furniture is often a hit-or-miss proposition, so when Pittsburg State University found itself with 170 used bunk beds following this year's renovation of Dellinger Hall, the university took a different approach. Beds were offered to area not-for-profit organizations at no cost, and more than 50 units began their journeys around Southeast Kansas and Oklahoma Thursday morning.

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    Selling used furniture is often a hit-or-miss proposition, so when Pittsburg State University found itself with 170 used bunk beds following this year's renovation of Dellinger Hall, the university took a different approach.

    Beds were offered to area not-for-profit organizations at no cost, and more than 50 units began their journeys around Southeast Kansas and Oklahoma Thursday morning.

    "Jenny (Hellwig, director of publications and special projects) contacted some of the non-profit organizations that she knew of and they sent mass emails to other people," said Terri Blessent, administrative specialist for University Marketing and Communication, which helped organize the giveaway.

    Bruce Parker picked up 10 of the beds and said they will help as he and Brenda Henderson, his significant other, prepare to become a foster home through TFI.

    Parker said his daughter works for TFI in Parsons and had described the heartache of separating larger groups of siblings, so he and Henderson are preparing to care for families of four to six children at their home in Hallowell.

    "You don't want to be limited to that, so that's why we're taking 10 beds," he said.

    "Around here, if they can't find a home, they send them all the way out to Wichita," Parker said. "It's traumatic to be pulled from parents and even worse to be pulled from brothers and sisters."

    Parker said they have been purchasing furniture as needed and and doing what they are able on their own, but added he is grateful for the beds in bulk that put them further on their way toward being ready for their dream.

    "Hopefully, we can help a lot of kids in the future," he said.

    This also was the goal of Laura Werberger, custodial manager for the university housing office. 

    Werberger has been through the process of disposing of beds several times in recent years, as dorms have been renovated and re-outfitted with modular furniture. 

    She said she and her supervisor discussed what to do with the beds.

    Page 2 of 3 - "(We discussed) did it work better to advertise to sell them or do donations?" she said.

    Two years ago, beds were sent to Joplin following the tornado's devastation, and other years beds have been sold for bids or charitable donations.

    "I said I would like to see them all donated," Werberger said.

    From there, word was sent out, and area organizations jumped at the opportunity.

    Peyton Westmoreland, a school-based social worker with the Oklahoma Children's Welfare Service, picked up 20 beds and said they will help to provide for the basic needs of children served by the organization.

    "When you look at a child, if his basic needs are met, he will do better in school," she said.

    She said she received help from 5 Mile Children's Camp, which donated a truck and workers for the effort.

    "They volunteered some of their workers and then a truck and trailer unit to pack them up," Westmoreland said. 

    She said the beds then will be distributed to places that have need of them in caring for children.

    "I had a family some time back that had four boys that called me and needed some beds," she said, adding that the family didn't have floor space for four individual beds, but was thrilled to hear the beds were bankable.

    "It's a great thing. The kids will be excited," Westmoreland said. "Any time you can meet the need of somebody, it will be a good thing."

    Pittsburg State University also had housing staff and athletes on hand to help out with the hauling and loading.

    Hunter Leahy, an incoming freshman who will be playing basketball at PSU, said he was glad to help out and do some community service.

    "Our coach told us about it and he was like, 'Anybody who wants to help,'" Leahy said. "I'm from Houston originally, so I've seen how this can help."

    Page 3 of 3 - Leahy said he remembered the help his community received in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and other disasters and was glad to pay it forward through helping load beds.

    Jake Bullard, who also plays basketball for PSU agreed.

    "It's good," he said. "It's nice to help people who need help."

    Additional beds are available and can be requested by contacting Blessent in the marketing and communication office.
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