Dec. 22—While most children will be comfortably tucked into their beds Christmas Eve, many kids in the Golden Isles will be sleeping on hard floors while waiting for Santa. And that's a thought that's been keeping Rees Carroll up these past few nights.
The founder of Operation Bed Spread is in panic mode with nearly two dozen requests for beds and not enough funds to cover the costs.
"There are currently 23 children waiting for beds for Christmas and that number will rise every day, until Santa comes and after," he said.
The local nonprofit hasn't missed its Christmas goal since its inception in 2012. But this year, unless a miracle happens, that will come to pass. Carroll says that a recent fundraiser helped them get out a good number of bed frames, but the donations that typically roll in after the event did not materialize this year.
"We've gotten no checks this week. We have $1,000. I'm at a complete loss. I'm just sick about it ... I don't know what happened," he said. "We raised $9,600 at the fundraiser but just spent $12,000 over the past two days. We had 10 new requests Monday and 16 Tuesday."
As the father of a little girl, Carroll cannot fathom letting these families to go without.
"I just cannot imagine leaving these kids stranded on Christmas," he said.
What Operation Bed Spread needs is funds. While donations are generous, most are not the types of beds that can be used. That is, twin sizes frames with a box spring and mattress. On average the cost for a set is $350 per bed, which leaves the organization in need of $17,500 to cover all the children.
And Carroll knows that the requests will keep coming during the first of the year.
"January is our second busiest month after December," he said.
No donation is too small and each one will make a real difference in the life of a local child in need. To help, checks made out to Operation Bed Spread may be mailed to Operation Bed Spread, 1700 Frederica Road, Suite 101-218, St. Simons Island, GA 31522. They may also be made online at operationbed.org.
While the odds are stacked against him, Carroll knows how giving the community is and hopes people will find it in their hearts to help these children again this year.
"We've never been this close to Christmas and not had the funds that we needed to buy whatever was necessary to get our community's children off the floor for Christmas," he said. "Please make a donation. There is no more just cause than making sure a child knows that someone cares about them on Christmas."