ROWAN COUNTY, Ky. — Inside the walls of the Rowan County Detention Center in Kentucky, a better night's sleep is being built. Inmates at the jail are building beds for children in their community.
"This is actually our second year of doing this kind of program," said Rowan County Jailer Wes Coldiron. "Last year, I think we built 25 to 30 beds, and this year, we built 25 to 30 beds."
The project came about when Charles Graham with the Rowan County Senior High School Youth Services Center was searching for a low-cost solution to provide beds for children in the district who did not have a proper place to sleep. This is an issue, sadly, that is all too common across the United States.
"The more beds we have, the more people we can serve, so low budget, serving people is the goal," Graham said.
"Every child deserves a bed. This saves the school money. We build them so they don't have to pay somebody to build them," Coldiron added.
According to the latest Pew Research data, more than 10.5 million children are living below the poverty line in America. Kids under the age of 18 consistently make up one of the largest populations in the country living in poverty.
Bill Redwine, president of the Morehead Optimist Club, said when they were approached to help fund the project, they hopped at the chance.
"It's just heartbreaking to look around and see that in 2021, there really are families who don't have a bed for their children to lay their head down," Redwine said.
The project is a winning solution for all involved. It not only helps the children in a cost-effective way, but it also provides an opportunity for the inmates.
"The inmates actually love giving back. Some of them really enjoy this kind of stuff plus it gets them out of the cell," said Coldiron.
The hope is that the program will soon no longer be needed, but the goal is to keep it up as long as it is.
"Kids are our future, and we are able to make sure that they have the best opportunities. That is what it's all about," Redwine said.
Twin mattresses and donations are both needed and welcomed for the project. Checks can be sent to the Morehead Optimist Club. Notate the donation is for "Beds For Kids."
This story was originally published by Claire Crouch at WLEX.