When the devastating tornado hit Moore, Okla., last week, Lauren Glass joined millions of Americans who watched the destruction unfold on television.As the images of rubble where houses once stood and teachers carrying children away from broken schoolhouses flashed across the screen, Glass felt an urge.“I’ve seen tragedies on TV, and they’re all sad and they are all heart wrenching, but something about the focus they’ve got on the kids and the schools and just how awful that was, it’s almost like it grabbed my heart in a different way,” she said. “I couldn’t quit watching it, I couldn’t quit thinking about it. It was always on my mind, but in a different way, like a feeling of you could do something, you can help those kids.”Glass is the founder of Beds4Kids, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing beds for children who don’t have them. Beds4Kids is also known as the Princess and the Pea project. The organization has provided more than 400 beds to children in the Northeast Tennessee region over the past four years.After seeing the devastation in Oklahoma, Glass decided to act on that urge and shoot for the stars.“This (Beds4Kids) is my avenue of how I help around here, so I want to take it there,” she said. “Our goal is 500 beds, which is $100,000.”Beds4Kids is working with families that have been directly impacted by the tornado and a few churches near Moore. She is also trying to get in contact with the Department of Human Services in Oklahoma.Glass is wanting to raise the money and buy the beds by August, when the organization plans to take a trip to Oklahoma.Raising $100,000 for 500 beds in a few months may seem ambitious, but Glass is no stranger to doing ambitious things.When she was 18, she founded Beds4Kids. She decided to found the organization after a thought struck her.“I was sitting in my living room, I remember it like it was yesterday, and it was probably a month after graduation. And I started having this thought that if I died right now or if I died tomorrow, what would people say about me like what had I done to help or make a difference ,” Glass said. “That was such a harsh thought and I had no idea where it came from ... so for about a month, I really struggled with it.”While still struggling with how to help, she went and saw the movie “The Blind Side.” During one scene, Michael Oher says he’s never had a bed before, and that was when the light bulb went off for her.She couldn’t believe there were people who had never had a bed before, so she got the idea to give children beds.When she started Beds4Kids, she didn’t understand just how many people, even in this area, don’t have a bed to sleep on.“It’s crazy how many kids don’t have beds,” she said. “We have had people that have had babies in dog beds. We’ve had kids that are sleeping on just the floor, air mattresses that are half-inflated, it’s really crazy.”Glass said kids love to see their new beds, and some even stand by the door waiting on the bed to be delivered, she said.
Providing a bed for kids who don’t have one has been her life for the last four years. So when she saw entire homes flattened and people who lost everything, she knew she had to help.Glass has one thought that constantly drives her: What if it were me?“Put yourself, just for a second, in the shoes of somebody who just literally lost everything you have,” she said. “Think about when you’re having your worst days, when you’ve got a headache or you’ve had a bad day at work or this, that and the other of life and you just want to go to bed. Put yourself in the position that you don’t have that luxury or your kids don’t. ... Let that guide you in what you want to do to help.”If you would like to donate, you can go to www.moderngiver.com/beds4kids and type in Beds4Kids or 37645. You can visit the website www.Beds4Kids.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.You can find the organization on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Along with monetary donations, the organization will also accept pillows still in the wrapping and solid colored twin size sheets.