Sleeping on Cloud Nine
Lack of sleep at night can cause people to be unpleasant to be around the next day. The benefits of a good night’s sleep include being in a better mood, a sharper brain, and a healthier heart. For a child, sleep is even more important for their development. Studies have shown that kids who regularly get adequate sleep have improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health.
Having a bedroom that promotes sleep can also improve how you feel when you’re awake since sleep quality and duration are directly tied to other aspects of a child’s health. Such a bedroom would include having a bed in which to slumber, which many of us take for granted. Unfortunately, many children in the Siouxland area are without a bed to lie in at night, with many sleeping on the floor.
Child bedlessness is a national problem being tackled one bed at a time. As a national nonprofit with chapters spread across the country, Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) provides the solution with each bed delivery. SHP is a volunteer organization dedicated to building, delivering, and assembling beds for children in need. SHP believes that “no kid sleeps on the floor in our town,” and they do all they can to make sure that happens.
SHP has been around for a decade. With humble beginnings in a garage in Twin Falls, Idaho, where SHP founder Luke Mickelson built one bed for one child in one family, SHP has now spread across the United States and into Canada. There are currently more than 280 local chapters, with ten serving communities throughout Iowa, including the Sioux City Chapter, which began in December 2021.
SHP provides beds for children ages 3-17, where an application has been submitted on their behalf, either by a parent or guardian or by someone nominating the child for a bed. The application process is simple and can be completed on the SHP website at https://www.shpbeds.org/apply. Currently, beds are being built and delivered by the Sioux City Chapter to Sioux City, Hinton, and Sergeant Bluff, Iowa; North Sioux City, South Dakota; and in Dakota City and South Sioux City, Nebraska.
The Sioux City Chapter hosted its first Community Build in December 2021, where volunteers were able to complete nearly 60 beds which were then delivered to children in need in our community. A second Community Build was completed in February 2022, and 100 additional beds were completed and delivered in Siouxland. Future Community Builds are planned throughout the year to help fill the need, which exceeds 200 beds.
In addition to Community Build events, a company, individual, or organization can hold a Sponsored Build. These events are coordinated between SHP and the sponsor. The sponsor provides the volunteers and the funds for the complete bed, including all building materials, new twin-sized mattresses, and bedding. Each Sponsored Build will provide 20-30 beds for children, depending upon the number of volunteers and the amount of funds provided by the Build sponsor.
The SHP chapters exist to do more than build beds, they also focus on bringing the entire community together to do good. The simple, original post on Facebook in 2012 sparked an unexpected response from the local community. Expecting multiple requests for beds, they were overwhelmed by an even greater response from people eager to help.
This has been the same in the Siouxland Community, where the volunteers get almost as much out of being involved as the children and families who receive the beds. Kingsley-Pierson FFA students recently helped deliver beds to their new owners through a Delivery Event. The impact on the students from that event led to the purchase of bedding sets by their families, another delivery of beds for another family, and even the FFA students hosting their own Community Build Event to help fill a need for beds in their own community.
Tears of joy and disbelief come from many of the recipients, surprised to learn the bed is theirs to keep. There are currently 220 children on the list waiting for a bed of their own. Each bed costs $250, including all lumber and hardware, a new twin-sized mattress, a new bedding set, and a pillow. All monetary donations made locally stay in Siouxland to provide beds for children in our community.
The biggest needs in Siouxland are a building large enough to host Build Events, funds or gift cards for building materials, and kid-friendly bedding sets. Monetary donations can be made online at www.hspbeds.org. Volunteers don’t need to be experts with power tools to help either, as assistance is needed with all steps in the building process. Become involved and help provide a basic need for a child in Siouxland. Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep.
Additional information on Build Events, Delivery Events, or how to donate can be found on the SHP Facebook page by searching Sleep in Heavenly Peace – IA, Sioux City, or at the website www.shpbeds.org.
There are so many ways to help be part of this great organization in our community. Find out more by visiting www.shpbeds.org or on Facebook at Sleep in Heavenly Peace – IA, Sioux City.
Each bed costs $250, which covers all building materials, a new twin-sized mattress, a bedding set, and a pillow.
Chapter President: Meredith Davies-Vogt
By Michelle Lessmann