The Iowa State University Extension Office was filled with activity and noise June 9 as community volunteers were hard at work for the first community build for Sleep in Heavenly Peace.
The goal of the charity, whose local chapter was founded back in February by Heather Weers, is building beds to provide them to children in need. Every bed comes with the frame, a new mattress, a new pillow, new sheets and either a comforter or handmade quilt.
Prior to the first build, Weers underwent training at the charity headquarters in Idaho back in March, which she said largely focused on the behind the scenes information, how to track expenses and what the process entailed for building the beds.
Aside from getting her up to speed on the minutia, it gave an opportunity for Weers to interact with others involved with the organization.
“It was great to see SHP Headquarters and different chapter presidents. Every chapter does things differently, but they all have the same goal in mind, to get the kiddos off the floor and into beds,” Weers said.
After returning from training, Weers focused on collecting the funds and materials that would be necessary to do the first build. Since the announcement, the community has been supportive even beyond expectations, allowing Weers to proceed ahead of schedule.
“The community support has been amazing! We have had so many groups, companies, and individuals donating, whether that has been bedding, lumber, or monetary donations, tools, etc. we were able to have our first community build much sooner than anticipated,” Weers said. “I want to thank everyone that was involved in any way. We will continue to get kids in Jones County off the floor.”
The strength of the community support could be seen at the extension office.
“Our first community build was great, and the volunteer turnout was amazing! We had over 80 community volunteers, and we built 20 beds in 3 hours,” Weers said. “I thought everything went really well. There are some small tweaks we can make for future builds, but for the first build, I am very happy and excited for future builds.”
Before the beds get sent to their homes “there is a lot of behind the scenes things that need to happen,” according to Weers. The group is still looking for applications for beds and for donations for mattresses for all the beds. Applications are available by going to the charity’s website, shpbeds.org, and clicking “Request a Bed.”
There is no date set yet for the next community build, but the next build will occur once the necessary funds are raised for the next set of beds. The goal is to be able to have 40 beds completed before the end of the year.
For more information on the charity or how to make a donation, email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.