Teens build beds for Trinity Rescue Mission

New beds part of project to fight bed bugs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It's perfect timing. More than 100 teens are the Trinity Rescue Mission this week for a youth mission camp sponsored by Trinity Baptist College.

It's not what most teens are doing with their summer vacation. But with every bed the teens help put together, volunteers are making sure the people who need them will have a clean and comfortable place to lay their heads.

"We're very blessed and we don't want to be spoiled, so we want to help all the people who really need other people's help," volunteer Shiray Thomas said.

The new beds are part of a $100,000 project the mission is implementing to fight bed bugs, an issue facing many homeless shelters across the country. A few months ago, the mission teamed up with Duval County's Bed Bug Task Force and the University of Florida to come up with a plan to fight the pesky critters.

"So one of the suggestions they made is to get rid of all the wooden bunk beds, which we have done," said Jim Kilpatrick, executive director of Trinity Rescue Mission. "But in order to do that we had to raise about $100,000 first to be able to get rid of them and replace them with metal bunk beds."

The mission reached out to the community and got an overwhelming and unexpected response. All of the money was donated, about half coming from individual donors.

"It came from people that cared," Kilpatrick said. "We were surprised when we let people know we were having an issue we needed to deal with. We weren't sure how people would respond. They didn't respond negative, they responded very positive because they know we are trying to make a difference."

A difference the teens say they are proud to be a part of.

"It's incredible to see the look on someone's face when they see what you've done for them," volunteer Jackson Willrick said. "It really makes you feel good."

In addition to the new beds, the mission will also install new heat chambers, specialized heaters and new flooring.