All over Southwest Iowa children go without beds, sleeping on couches or the floor.
The Shenandoah Rotary Club was awarded a $1,500 matching grant through Rotary International to benefit the Page County Chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace.
Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) is a national nonprofit organization that builds, assembles, and delivers bunk beds to children and families in need.
A build day has been organized through the local chapter from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Cottonwood Pavilion in Shenandoah.
The organization originated in 2014 in the garage of Luke Nicholson in Twin Falls, Idaho, after Mickelson and volunteers from his church worked on a community service project building bunk beds for a family in need.
After finishing and delivering those bunk beds, there was still leftover lumber, so the church group built another bed and posted it on Facebook. They were overwhelmed by the response of families with children in need of beds and the large response from people offering to donate mattresses, pillows, and bedding for the beds they were making.
Sleep in Heavenly Peace was born from this and spread to other cities through friends and acquaintances with the motto “No kid sleeps on the floor in our town.”
After being featured on the facebook tv show, “Returning the Favor,” with Mike Row SHP exploded, and from the publicity of this show people begin starting chapters.
The organization is growing steadily with 205 active or in the process of becoming active chapters across the country. As of 2018, there had been 14,780 volunteers
and 4,144 bunk beds built.
Jake Johnson, president of the Page County chapter, started a chapter after seeing the ”Returning the Favor” show. Johnson is from Essex and flies for Endeavor Air, a regional airline for delta.
“I didn’t even think this was a need or something I would have thought of,” said Johnson. ”It is a need that is in our area as well.”
Individuals, businesses and organizations can sponsor an entire build day or donate money to fund a partial build by contacting their local chapter. No special skills are required.
“We organize build days as we are able to and as we need to,” said Johnson. “As we start running out of beds, we will try to organize another build day.”
The Page County Chapter has all the tools for a build day, and materials are donated or bought with donated funds. Materials for the Shenandoah Rotary Club build day are being purchased from Miller Building in Shenandoah.
“Our first build was last February, and we have had four since then,” said Johnson. “The Rotary build will be our fifth.”
The Page County Chapter has made about 100 beds, delivered 75 with more ready to be delivered. They deliver to Page, Fremont, Montgomery and Mills counties.
As volunteers are able, they deliver the beds, including mattresses, pillows and bedding to families on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Every child deserves a safe, comfortable place to sleep, and families can fill out an application online at SHPBEDS.org. The families must be close to an active chapter and have adequate living arrangements with room large enough to accommodate one of SHP beds.
To volunteer at the Rotary Club build day Saturday, Oct. 26, contact Jenny Burkhiser at 712.215.2640. Volunteers are required to sign an Indemnification release form, be at least 12 years of age, and overage minors are required to be accompanied by a legal guardian.