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Bloomington nonprofit to build beds for those in need

After passing through downtown Bloomington and heading west, students and residents may notice a small brick building bursting with various tools and construction equipment on their way through town. The Tool Library, a public location where anyone is welcome to check out and borrow tools for free, is run by the West Bloomington Revitalization Project (WBRP). The nonprofit organization, which works on bringing new life into the area of West Bloomington, holds charity and fundraising events year-round and is in the midst of finalizing the details for a brand new event it is hosting in the middle of October.

WBRP works to revitalize the community year-round. The group is part of Bruegala each year, collects unwanted food from the farmer’s market to donate to the area every week and hosts a 5k in the spring — all which aim to raise money and revamp the entirety of the Bloomington-Normal area in need, with a focus on Bloomington’s west side.

“We’re a non-for-profit organization that helps, and wants to revitalize, the west side of Bloomington, such as rehabbing homes and [utilizing] grant projects,” Robert Bosquez, WBRP’s community engagement coordinator, said.

This fall, the organization noticed that children in the area sleeping without beds is an issue severely overlooked in community outreach. Hundreds of members of the Blo-No community are dealing with inadequate sleeping arrangements, which can affect their day-to-day lives severely. The solution was Bed Blitz, an all-day event where volunteers will help to build at least 40 beds for children of the community in need. The event will take place 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 15 at YouthBuild McLean County.

“We became aware that people of Bloomington-Normal have no place to sleep ... we’re building 40 beds with kits, and the kits include pillows, sheets, a homemade quilt, a hygiene kit and a teddy bear,” Bosquez said.

Other WBRP projects have been a success, as the Tool Library is home to more than 1000 members and event attendance throughout the year is high. Everyone is hopeful for a large turnout of those who wish to be involved in community outreach. Nancy Stone, a volunteer tool librarian, brought the idea to WBRP after reading about a similar project elsewhere.

“There’s a program down in Kentucky called Build-a-Bed, and I thought it sounded like a wonderful idea, so I wrote to them and got all of their information,” Stone said. “They’ve been doing this for about eight years, so ours is patterned after theirs ... we decided that this was something we could do here.”

WBRP believes providing a comfortable place to sleep for children in the area will benefit them greatly in their daily lives and make a huge difference when it comes to their ability to focus, feel safe and be positive.

“We know there are children sleeping on the floor ... when you talk to teachers about kids in school, getting them to focus on what’s going on, having a good attitude and just their general outlook on life, has to do with a bed,” Stone said. “If we can get them in a safe, secure place for a good night’s sleep, it makes a big difference.”

Those interested in volunteering for the Bed Blitz, or any other projects put on by WBRB, can visit its website and go underneath the ‘projects’ tab to view upcoming events and opportunities. People with further inquiries are encouraged to email Bosquez at westbloomington@gmail.com.

This article first appeared in The Vidette

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