Did you know that one in five people in Orange live below the poverty level? About one in ten struggles to make ends meet with less than half of the federal poverty level of income.
It is difficult to find the actual statistics, but too many boys and girls go without a bed or even a pillow to sleep on because their families cannot afford one. These children end up sleeping on couches, blankets, and even floors. This can affect their health as well as their happiness.
A short time ago I was introduced to a group of volunteers in Beaumont dedicated to building, assembling and delivering top-notch bunk beds to children and families in need AT NO CHARGE. They are a chapter of a national non-profit (501-c-3) charity started about seven years ago in Idaho.
As of last weekend (9-14-2019) the Beaumont group have built and delivered more than 200 beds. They have a waiting list of 460! On the national level, the goal is to build and distribute 10,000 beds across the US and Canada. As of last month, more than 8,000 had been built.
The charity is known as Sleep In Heavenly Peace and they work entirely on donations and with volunteers.
This group is such a secret that even our local CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) was unaware of it. Their need? They have potential foster parents for kids that can’t qualify because they don’t have an extra bed for the foster child. Now that’s really sad.
The cost for materials for a single bed is $150, and $300 for a bunk set. This includes mattress and bed clothes. Anyone want to donate the money to build a bed for a kid?
Once a month, the Beaumont chapter does a public “Build Day”, downtown across the street from the Fire Museum with the giant fire hydrant. They always need volunteers – both to build the beds as well as administrative stuff like registering volunteers. Or just take some time and bring refreshments for those that are working.
Even just donating a “Bed-in-a-Bag” from Wal-Mart for around $25 will help. Bring it to a Build Day.
Bed deliveries are made on Saturdays and evenings, when the kids are home. Volunteers also needed for deliveries.
For me, one of the most exciting opportunities is for local groups like the Rotary Club, Lions Club, VFW, Elks, or churches, even golfing buddies. If they could get together 10 volunteers, Sleep in Heavenly Peace will arrange for their own “build day”.
What a great way to give back to the community.
Donations can be mailed to Sleep In Heavenly Peace, 1120 Ivy Lane, Beaumont TX 77706. You can find them on Facebook by typing in “Sleep in Heavenly Peace-TX Beaumont. The national website is SHPbeds.org.
And their motto> You guessed it, “No kid sleeps on the floor in our town.”
J. David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through OhainWEB.com, an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau that is rated A+ by BBB. He can be reached at JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info
This article was first published in The Orange Leader on September25th 2019.