LYNNFIELD — A total of 90 volunteers rolled up their sleeves and emptied their toolboxes at the Lynnfield Rotary Club’s Build a Bed service project Saturday at MarketStreet Lynnfield.
The enthusiastic group needed only 90 minutes to build 22 wood-framed, twin-sized beds that were then donated to A Bed for Every Child, a nonprofit organization in Lynn dedicated to ending homelessness and giving children a place to dream.
“It was a beautiful day,” said Rotary President Christine Travers. “Every bed was sponsored. We had twice as many volunteers as last year when we built 10 beds and we had a lot of young people this year and a lot of sponsors to thank, so it really was a great day.”
“We believe that all children deserve a place to dream,” said A Bed for Every Child Program Director Tina Baptista. “Our program is a state-wide initiative so we provide these beds completely free of charge. About a third of all recipients come from the Greater Lynn area and we have about 50 kids waiting for a bed, so 22 of them are going to go out within the next few weeks, thanks to Lynnfield Rotary and all (its) community partners who generously sponsor these beds today.” She added that it cost $350 to sponsor one bed.
Volunteers ranged in age from 3 to 92 with longtime Rotarian Dave Drislane of Lynnfield claiming bragging rights as the oldest for the second consecutive year.
Other volunteers included A Healthy Lynnfield (AHL) Substance Use Coordinator Peg Sallade and Diana DeLeo, AHL’s community outreach and engagement coordinator.
DeLeo said she had several reasons for volunteering.
“We had kids that are part of our Youth Council from the middle school and high school and it’s great for them to learn to give back. It’s nice that it’s a hands-on project so it’s not just making a donation. They are actually working on something and creating a product at the end that will help a child in need.”
DeLeo’s 8-year-old son Paul, a second grader at Huckleberry Hill School, said his job was to “dust off the wood” with sandpaper. He said he “really enjoyed” knowing that someone his age would be sleeping in a bed he helped to make.
Sallade said AHL shares Rotary’s mission of giving back to the community.
“Rotary for a small group is hugely active on service in the community and A Healthy Lynnfield is always out to support that,” she said. “It is phenomenal to double from 10 to 22 beds and we were happy to sponsor a bed, so we were excited to come out and help.”
Baptista said A Bed for Every Child’s partnership with the Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development (LHAND) provided nearly 2,000 children with new beds and bedding materials last year.
“We pride ourselves on being a multi-generational project, so it was great to see so many people of all ages who successfully had a great time building these beds as part of a community event,” Baptista said. “To have young kids so engaged and invested in helping to pass a bed off to another child who is one of their own, was just a great thing to see.”
Baptista gave a shoutout to Ron Block for organizing the event, commending “his work and leadership with Rotary Club not only last year, but doubling his commitment to serving the greater community. I know it goes far beyond the work out of A Bed for Every Child with his generosity so we’re really thankful.”
Former Rotary President Jack Moynihan said he and his wife Hilda were “very, very happy” to be a part of the Build a Bed project.
“This was an outstanding day, just a true community effort with so many enthusiastic people and so many kids coming out to help,” he added.
Block said he was grateful to Lynnfield Fire Chief Glenn Davis for his “ongoing cooperation and help,” as well as to the folks at MarketStreet for their help in making the event a success.
“Glenn was kind to support us by offering indoor space at the fire station if we needed it,” Block said. “The MarketStreet people were incredibly cooperative and helpful. They handled so many things for us — it was great that we could focus on just building beds. They set us up in a perfect spot and we would do this again here at MarketStreet in a heartbeat.”
When asked what he had in store for next year, Block said he didn’t know yet.
“All I can say is we at Rotary hope to continue to do projects like this in Lynnfield and give back to our community,” he said.