News: Unity - Newly-Formed Charity (Nov 2019)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark, Co) 11/27/2019
Newly-Formed Charity Helps Children ‘Sleep In Heavenly Peace’ (Beds - 2019)
Newly-Formed Charity Helps Children ‘Sleep In Heavenly Peace’
This is an example of what the finished beds look like. Sleep in Heavenly Peace will host a bed-building day Dec. 7 at 520 South Front Street, Unity. The public is welcome to participate. Registration is at 8:45 a.m. with two work shifts, 9 to 11 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Submitted photo
By Valorie Brecht
One of the best feelings is cozying up under the covers in bed after a long day. But for some in our community, even that is a luxury. That’s where a new non-profit in Spencer has stepped in to help.
Earlier this year, a group of folks in Spencer put their heads together of Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP), a national organization that builds and donates beds to children who don’t have them.
“Kids that are sleeping on the floor, couch, etc. – they deserve a bed,” said chapter president Joleen Schade.
SHP began around Christmas 2012, in Twin Falls, Idaho. A man and his church groups found out about a family whose little girl needed a bed and built one for her. They got a lot of joy out of it, so they decided to build another bed, and another. Pretty soon, donations started pouring in. Lumber, mattresses and bedding. Nine local chapters were founded. After SHP was featured on Mike Rowe’s show “Returning the Favor,” the idea exploded. Now there are 175 trained chapters in almost every state and Canada.
The idea reached Spencer when Schade saw a post online about the Trempealeau County Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) chapter looking for quilt donations. Schade, a quilter, was happy to get involved.
“One of the things that intrigued me was there’s not a lot of places out there that do this,” she said. “There’s charities that provide backpacks of food to take home on the weekends, medical supplies and clothing, but nothing like this. The more I Looked into it, I thought, ‘This is something we can do here.’”
Schade brought it up to her church group at Spencer United Methodist Church. They were interested and helped get a local chapter going. They decided to serve the area in a 25-mile radius around Spencer, which includes Neillsville, Granton, Chili, Greenwood, Loyal, Owen, Curtiss and Colby.
It took some work to get the chapter up and running. First, the group had to raise about $4,000 for tools. Then Schade and her daughter attended a training in Idaho in July for chapter presidents. They also watched several training videos online. Schade and her husband went to Portage, which has a chapter, to watch one of their builds.
The Spencer group had their first build Aug. 10 in the church parking lot. They built 10 beds with their core team. A mentor from Portage came and helped them learn the building process so they could replicate it in the future.
“It’s definitely been a steep learning curve. I never built furniture before. I’m more of a cheerleader,” said Schade with a chuckle. “But it’s a simple process that they’ve perfected at the national level. It’s meant to be easy to get the volunteers involved. We also have two build managers who are learning all the steps along with us and others in our group have building knowledge.”
The group has hosted another build since the August one. They have built 24 beds so far and delivered to Spencer, Dorchester, Colby, Chili, Auburndale and Marshfield.
There are a lot of circumstances where a kid could wind up not having a bed to sleep in, said Schade, whether their family’s home burnt down in a fire, they moved, or the parents are newly divorced. Or a family may just not have enough money to buy a bed.
“It’s not a priority, when they are choosing between food and bed, obviously they’re going to choose food,” said Schade. “It’s a symptom of poverty.”
At first, the Spencer SHP chapter wasn’t sure how great the local need for beds would be, but quickly came to realize it. Their first delivery was in Marshfield on a Sunday. By that Tuesday, someone was already calling the church if they provided beds.
“Our first delivery, they had really nothing in the home. They just had a couch and one chair and a TV, hardly any toys,” said Schade. “The deliveries are the most rewarding part but also kind of sad, because you convince yourself the need doesn’t exist, but then realize it does.”
The group currently has requests for beds in Granton and Chili. It has gotten requests from as far away as Weston and Bayfield. SHP has reached out to schools and social services to see who may be in need of a bed.
It costs $175 for one bed, including all the bedding, or $350 for bunk beds. SHP makes single beds, but they are stackable.
In order for an individual to receive a bed, they must be between the ages of three and 17 and not currently have a bed. There also has to be a place to put the bed.
SHP is seeking donations of twin-sized mattress pads, sheets, pillows, pillowcases and comforters. The organization does not accept used linens for insurance reasons. The group receives mattresses from a supplier.
The community has rallied around this cause. Local businesses have chipped in, such as CRC Lumber in Colby providing lumber for the beds at a discounted rate. SHP has received grants from the Marshfield Walmart and Marshfield Clinic.
B&D Fabricators is allowing SHP to use their location for the next build “Santa’s Elves Build Beds for Kids,” on Saturday, Dec. 7. The address is 520 South Front Street, Unity. Registration is at 8:45 a.m. with two work shifts, 9 to 11 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The goal is to build 30 beds to get kids off the floor and into beds by Christmas. People are invited to volunteer their time, with all building abilities welcomed.
SHP can plan a building day as a service project for youth groups, family reunions, church or civic groups or sports teams. Corporations may sponsor a build and their employees volunteer the time to build beds. SHP also makes a great Eagle Scout project, Schade said.
At a work-day earlier this year, Aldonna Miller and Ellen Stanley dip headboards in a vinegar steel wool mixture which gives them their finish. Submitted photo
Volunteers work to sand pieces of wood for Children’s bunk beds. The Spencer Area Sleep in Heavenly Peace chapter has made 24 beds so far and has a goal of making 30 more by Christmas. Submitted photo
Al Bauman uses a mallet on a board that will eventually be used in a bed for a local child. It costs $175 for one bed, which includes the mattress and bedding. Submitted photo
(Place photo of boy helping with bed building.)
Volunteer Scott Johnson puts together a bed with a little help from a youngster. Submitted photo
To donate or request a bed, visit shpbeds.org/chapter/wi-spencer-area. One may also call 844-432-2337 ext.5539 or email email@example.com. The Spencer Area SHP is on Facebook under “Sleep in Heavenly Peace – WI, Spencer Area.”
People may refer a friend to receive a bed, but SHP must receive confirmation from the parent or guardian of the child beforehand and a parent or guardian must be present when the bed is delivered.
SHP is looking forward to making sure more local children have the dignity of a bed to sleep in, not to mention the health benefits that come with getting a good night’s sleep.
They know their work is appreciated, said Schade.
“When we deliver the beds, if the kids are home, we let them help assemble and make the bed to make it feel like their own. But if you glance over at the parents, you see this look of relief to their eyes and they often have tears in their eyes. They are so grateful.”
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