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Goodnight, Sweet Dreams

Local community groups partner to make sure every child has a bed of their own.

There are few things in life more comforting than a cozy bed to rest in at the end of the day. We might even take such a simple pleasure for granted. But for many children, a bed of their own is a luxury, and bedtime instead finds them on the floor, a couch or crowded into one bed with other siblings.

“No kid sleeps on the floor in my town” is the motto and motivation for Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP), a nonprofit founded in 2012 by Luke and Heidi Mickelson in Twin Falls, Idaho. When Luke discovered there were children from his church sleeping on the floor, he realized this was a need he could do something about. Today, more than 35,000 beds have been built by 260 SHP chapters across the United States. 

In 2019, the Lebanon/Warren County chapter of SHP was started by local resident and current president of the chapter, Greg Davis. After a presentation about SHP at his Lebanon Rotary club, Greg helped the Butler County SHP chapter with a bed delivery. He shares, “At the time I was looking for something that would make an impact in the community. I never knew there was bedlessness. I realized this was something that was tugging at my heart.”

“There are lots of food and clothing drives, but nobody really thinks about kids who don’t have beds,” Greg adds. “Beds are a luxury for some families. Not only are we giving these kids a bed, but we are also giving them a sense of ownership. Lots of these kids haven’t had anything to call their own and now this bed is theirs.”

Even though they were shut down for most of 2020, the Lebanon/Warren County chapter of SHP has enlisted 450 volunteers who have built more than 150 beds in less than two years.

“We are not only providing a needed service to the community, but we are also providing people a way they can help others. The community coming together is amazing,” Greg states.

This past May, the community came together for one of the largest local builds to date. The Mason Deerfield and Lebanon Rotary clubs partnered with Sinclair Community College—Mason to sponsor a build.

Mason Deerfield Rotary Community Service Chair, Julie Ilg explains, “Rotary is always looking for ways to help people in our own backyard. It was a great community partnership. The two Rotary clubs funded the supplies and Sinclair provided space for volunteers to build.”

Julie continues, “This was our first build. After COVID-19 stalled our plans, we realized it would be safe to work outside this past spring. It was a great experience. Everyone loved the purpose and being together in person for our first service project in over a year.”

Typically, a group sponsors a build day by providing the funds for the supplies, a space to build and most of the volunteers. The local chapter of SHP is completely portable and brings everything needed, including the tools and training. An all volunteer, experienced core team directs each of the work stations, so no experience is needed and ‘non-builders’ are welcome.

After Lowe’s delivers the wood, volunteers are grouped in work stations to measure, cut, drill holes and sand the pieces. The wood is stained and branded with the SHP logo. All the pieces needed to make the beds are built, but not assembled, for easier storage.

A bed delivery is scheduled after a request is made and approved. Recipients may be referred by local social service agencies or can apply online themselves. In addition to their own new bed, each child receives a new mattress, pillow and all new bedding.

“The bed deliveries are very emotional experiences,” Greg shares. “The kids are so excited and the parents are so appreciative.”

Greg notes, “We are losing our storage warehouse soon and we could use a larger warehouse to build inside all year long. Since we are a completely volunteer organization, the community can help us with build and delivery days, making monetary donations online or sponsoring a bedding drive.”

“Our Rotary was drawn to this project because of what it provides for families in our local community,” Julie reflects. “There are children who need a bed of their own and we can help. The motto at Sinclair is, ‘find the need, and then endeavor to meet it.’”

Each bed built means one more child can sleep in heavenly peace.

Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Lebanon/Warren County Chapter

844.432.2337x5948

SHPBeds.org

Mason Deerfield Rotary Club, Ohio 

Mason-DeerfieldRotary.org

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