TYLER (KYTX) - There are an estimated 153 million orphans in the world, and those who live in some of the worst conditions, are getting life changing help from a group of East Texans.
A bed. For many, it's a simple concept, but for the orphans of Moldova, a warm bed is a luxury.
"These are kids who have been abandoned by parents most times because of the economic situation. Moldova is the poorest country in Eastern Europe. Most people get by on a dollar to two dollars a week," says Whitehouse First Baptist Church Deacon Tony Black.
He has been to Moldova and seen the conditions these abandoned children live in.
"These kids are sleeping on beds from WWII that they kind of collected from post soviet use," Black says. "The kids that have bed wetting issues, they don't throw those away. It's pretty unsanitary."
It was four years ago that black found out about a Nashville based organization called Sweet Sleep, that sends volunteers to Moldova, Haiti, and African countries like Uganda to build beds for the orphans.
"They've given over 10,000 beds in the last ten years," Black says.
This December, Black will take his fourth trip to build beds in Moldova, helping not only these children, but the country's economy.
"It's not a pre-"fabbed" bed we're bringing from Ikea or something. There's actually someone in the country building these by hand and then we assemble them," he says.
"To see those kids' faces and eyes light up when they crawl into those covers and we tell them 'that's yours.' It's an overwhelming experience," Black says.
He hopes spreading the word about Sweet Sleep will encourage his community to join the cause, especially in Moldova, where he calls the children forgotten.
Each bed costs $200, so Black and his team need to raise $40,000 for the 200 beds they hope to build in December.
To raise that money, they're holding a benefit at Whitehouse First Baptist on Saturday, November 2. There will be a free concert at 7 p.m. You can donate and learn more about Sweet Sleep there, or go to http://sweetsleep.org/.