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Volunteers build beds for GMHC Family Resource Center

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Guttenberg Knights of Columbus members Gerald Borman, Jim Schlueter, and Marv Althoff have found a way to help children in need through the Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinic's Family Resource Center "Build a Bed" program. From left are Marv Althoff and Gerald Borman. (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker

Knights of Columbus members Gerald Borman, Jim Schlueter, and Marv Althoff of Guttenberg have found a way to help children in need through the Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinic's Family Resource Center. 

Family Resource Center coordinator Kari Harbaugh approached Borman while he was volunteering at the center. Harbaugh, who is always researching ways to better serve her community, came across a non-profit organization that built beds for children in need. "Although their program was not a good fit for our resource center we were able to come up with a solution that would work for us," Harbaugh told The Press. 

Borman agreed to take on the project and invited Althoff, and Schlueter to join hm. Althoff's wife, Robin, also assists with the project

The Family Resource Center purchases the materials for each bed at Meuser Lumber Company in Guttenberg, and the volunteers use a blueprint and the list of materials to create each bed. 

The volunteers gather at Althoffs. "We meet here because we have the space, a saw and a drill press," said Marv, a spokesperson for the group. "Each bed is approximately 39 inches wide and can be used as a standard single bed or stacked to make bunk beds." 

The bed pieces are sanded to remove any sharp edges and left unfinished so recipients can customize them to their liking. "The bed pieces are transferred to storage and not assembled, but are very easy to put together with a socket wrench," Marv noted. 

Each platform bed comes with a new mattress, and new or used bedding. 

"We made 10 beds in 2022 and seven in 2023," commented Marv. "The need increases in the fall when temperatures drop and it's too cold to sleep on the floor, and new families move to town at the beginning of the school year." 

"The beds are specifically for children," Harbaugh added. "If an adult needs a bed we try to find a second-hand frame."

Each bed frame costs approximately $100 to build, plus the cost of a mattress. "A lot of our children live in homes that are not energy efficient, so getting up off the floor and covered up with warm bedding is pretty important," Harbaugh stressed. 

For additional information, or if you would like to make a donation specifically for this project contact the Family Resource Center at 563-252-3215, or mail donations to 514 South River Park Drive, Guttenberg, IA 52052.

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