PEABODY — Boston Bruins mascot Blades strapped on his skates with some young fans Thursday. Kai Potter, 5, was too busy to answer any questions about how he was enjoying the event.
“Where’s the bear?” he yelled, as he skated off with the age-old beginning skater’s helper of several milk crates lashed together.
Forty-plus fifth grade students from Lynn’s Lincoln-Thomson Elementary School took to the ice at the McVann-O’Keefe Skating Rink in conjunction with the Bruins, the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, and Bob’s Discount Furniture. Bob’s donation of 250 beds to the homeless coalition’s A Bed for Every Child program was highlighted during the event.
“One of our main goals as a company is to give back to the community, so we are honored to provide new beds for children in need this holiday season,” said Cathy Poulin, the public relations director for Bob’s Discount Furniture. “We’ve enjoyed working with the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless and the Bruins on a Bed for Every Child campaign.”
While the event was for a good cause, the high point for many of the students and other kids was getting out on the ice.
Three-year-old Alberto Ramos of Lynn was a natural on skates.
“He hasn’t skated before, but I asked him what sport he wants to play now, and he said it’s hockey,” said his mother, Jasmine Quijada.
The homeless coalition launched the Bed for Every Child program with the goal to deliver 250 beds by Christmas for children without their own bed. With the donation of 250 beds, Bob’s helped double that goal, bringing the initiative’s goal to 500 beds.
“A Bed for Every Child’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty and we see childhood education as a crucial starting point for that goal,” said Robyn Frost, Executive Director for the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. “We want every child, regardless of their family’s financial situation, to receive a good education and that starts with a good night’s sleep. We hope that this event raises awareness about families experiencing poverty and inspires others to volunteer for this initiative.”
The program’s had a big impact on local families.
“I am so grateful that my children’s school connected me with a Bed for Every Child,” said Stephanie Raposo, a mother receiving a donated bed as part of the campaign. “Because of this initiative, my children will have new beds of their own this Christmas.”
Cheryl Potter, a single mother from Dorchester, said the beds she got for her seven children have made all the difference in the world.
“I have a five-year-old daughter who never had her own bed before, and now she has her own room,” she said. “I wasn’t in the holiday spirit before, but this made my holiday.”