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Bed building event helps kids Sleep in Heavenly Peace

June 5, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

On Saturday, June 15, an expected 6,000-plus volunteers across the United States will gather to assemble and deliver beds for children who otherwise may have to sleep on the floor. The event is part of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a program that started in Kimberly, Idaho in 2012 and has since spread across the country.

So far in 2019, 9,500 volunteers have assembled and delivered over 2,857 bunk beds to children and families throughout the nation.

On the local front, a local chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) was formed and went into action around July of 2018. That chapter will be among the 100 chapters participating in the national bed-building event on June 15 according to chapter president Jeff Watkins.

"Since the Youngstown chapter of SHP started we have delivered over 60 beds to local children in need," Watkins said.

On the local scene, the Youngstown chapter has a website at where people can go to volunteer to help build and deliver beds, and for those who may have a child in need of his or her first bed. Watkins said the need locally is great and the Youngstown area chapter is looking at 300 requests for beds right now.

"There is a vetting process that is adhered too for each case," Watkins said. "We start at the earliest applicants and work towards the newest. This list will stay until it's completed or added upon by more applicants."

Although the Youngstown chapter of SHP is very young, Watkins said he has seen children who honestly needed the bed.

"I wish I could say they weren't [sleeping on the floor]," he said. "The situations we have seen so far range from dirty clothes on the floor as a pillow, a mattress on the floor, sleeping with relatives or just sleeping on the floor with no clothes for a pillow and literally nothing in the home (not even a towel to dry with in one case!)."

On June 15, the group that comes together will be doing so because of these children in need. The program starts with a pile of lumber that is set up in an assembly line and turned into a finished bed frame.

"Each station has a specific job to do at the builds and every part is equally important to the next station," Watkins said. "We have jigs and plans. Everything is very simplistic in nature."

The cost of one bunk bed is $350 and a single bed is $175. Those prices include the wood and hardware to assemble the beds, the mattress and mattress protector (depending on age), pillows, sheets, and blankets. When the bed is delivered, the child can immediately sleep on it since it is ready to go.

The long term goal of the chapter is to hold a build every month throughout the year. That would ultimately depend on business sponsorships, donations and hosts.

"Our entire operation is mobile so that if a company wishes to host a team building exercise using our organization we can bring everything to them and have the build right on their premises," Watkins said.

On June 15, the event will be held at El Jalapeno II in Austintown. There is still a need for about 15 more volunteers to make the goal of 20 bunk beds that will get 40 children off the floor.

The event will also be part of a big challenge. Sleep in Heavenly Peace is striving to break two Guinness World Records on June 15. The first is having the most volunteers gathered on the same day for the same cause. The second is Building the most bunk beds in one day. To accomplish the goals will require over 6,000 volunteers and 2,500 bunk beds built.

Local chapter volunteer Jaden Karr said, "The Bunks Across America event is going to consist of over 100 chapters nationwide coming together to ensure our mission statement 'No kid sleeps on the floor in our town.'"

Contact information to donate or volunteer: - Main website for our organization, can be used to learn more, request a bed, register as a volunteer and learn of upcoming - Local chapters Facebook page, "Like ??" the page to get updated on current needs and upcoming events.



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