On a business trip to Idaho in 2018, Jim Freeman of Highlands Ranch participated in a customer's community service day. It was an assembly-line gathering to build basic twin-size beds made from donated lumber, hardware and other building supplies.
Jim was struck by the simplicity of the project, no need for prior experience, and the dramatic end result—delivering beds to children who were otherwise sleeping on the floor. The build day was a project by the Idaho-based non-profit organization Sleep in Heavenly Peace.
When Jim returned home to Highlands Ranch, he immediately started the Denver chapter of the organization and has been hosting bed build days and delivering beds since.
How did you get involved in Sleep in Heavenly Peace?
The concept is so straightforward: “We make beds for kids that are sleeping on the floor." I knew I had most of the equipment and tools needed to build beds and having worked around construction off an on over the years was comfortable with the build process. The next weekend I looked up Sleep in Heavenly Peace and volunteered. Finding out that there wasn’t a chapter in Denver, SHP reached out to me and asked if I would consider starting the Denver Chapter. I thought about it for a few days, and when I talked to my wife about feeling like I needed to do more and give back to the community, she just laughed and said that she wondered when I’d find something to fill the void that was created after I stopped coaching football after both boys finished youth sports.
What has it meant to you to be able to get involved in SHP?
I was sure that building beds was something I’d enjoy, and, honestly, it is a fun way to spend a Saturday morning. What I didn’t expect was the emotional impact when we started delivering beds and meeting the kids we’re helping. It is so much more rewarding than I ever expected—that has really been the best part of the experience. I’ve taken lots of volunteers on deliveries this year, and I always make it a point to tell even the biggest, toughest volunteers to stick a Kleenex in their pocket, just in case. It’s really touching when you see the reactions, get big hugs, put a huge smile on a kiddo’s face and it’s moved most of us to tears at one time or another.
How can people get involved in SHP?
We are an all-volunteer organization. We really have three main opportunities for people to volunteer:
1) Build Day—Watch our Facebook page for announcements and events about SHP Build Days. Come spend a few hours to a whole weekend with us making bunk beds. You do not need any building experience whatsoever. We train and supervise on the spot, and use everyone from adults to children to build and assemble beds.
2) Delivery Days—We organize monthly delivery days or once we’ve trained volunteers, they can go out into the community and set up beds anytime.
3) Organize a fundraiser or bedding drive. We deliver every bed with brand new bedding (twin size sheet set, comforter, and pillow).
How to get involved:
Sleep in Heavenly Peace-Denver is always looking for civic groups, community organizations, clubs, teams, churches, and social groups to partner with on build days or delivery days. If you’re interested in learning more about how your group can partner with Sleep in Heavenly Peace, please contact Jim Freeman at Jim.Freeman@shpbeds.org or visit us at SHPBeds.org and fill out the Contact Us request.