Mark Bergel of Silver Spring was recently named a 2014 CNN Hero for his charity’s work helping area families in need furnish their homes, providing adult education classes, and offering comprehensive job support.
Bergel, 51, is director and founder of A Wider Circle of Silver Spring, a nonprofit that helps individuals who lack basic everyday items such as a bed, says Gazette.Net.
His story will be featured on CNN. Bergel, who founded the nonprofit out of his house in 2001, is eligible to be the network’s 2014 Hero of the Year.
Since 2001, Bergel and his group have assisted more than 125,000 people throughout Washington by providing furniture, household goods and life skills workshops.
"There's no stability and there's no dignity when you live in apartments that have nothing in them," Bergel told CNN.
After donating his bed to A Wider Circle six years ago, Bergel has slept most nights on his couch. He vows to sleep without a bed until every person in the United States has one of their own.
"I want to help create the change that will enable people to rise out of poverty and enjoy the freedom and independence afforded to others," he told CNN. "Poverty is a human problem, and human beings will solve it."
The nonprofit will sponsor the National Conference on Ending Poverty March 29 in collaboration with Montgomery County’s Office of Community Partnerships.
In addition, the nonprofit launched its “ EveryBODY Needs a Bed” campaign, seeking 10,000 beds by the end of 2014. Donations of beds, bed linens and cash to buy beds are all accepted.