Volunteers help kids get a good night’s sleep.
By Kathleen Childers
Some kids in the U.S. don’t have a proper bed to sleep on. They’re on the floor or a sofa, or share a bed with one or more siblings. That can make it tough for them to sleep well, and lack of sleep can impact a child’s behavior and ability to learn.* The national nonprofit Sleep in Heavenly Peace wants to solve the problem by building and donating single beds that also can be stacked as bunk beds.
On June 15, Sleep in Heavenly Peace stepped up its effort with a nationwide goal across its 150 regional groups: Build 2,500 bunks (5,000 single beds) in one day. They actually surpassed the goal, building 2,600, including
51 ½ bunks built by 125 volunteers for the Kenosha/Racine group (see photo).
The group was started in June 2018 by Thrivent member Mike Prudhom and his friend Wayne Pike. Prudhom enjoyed building things, and he knew he could build beds. Pike was an avid woodworker. Together with their spouses, Debbi Prudhom and Maryann Pike, they put out a call for volunteers and donations.
Thrivent member Mark Niccolai was one of the people who responded. He and his wife, Cathleen, have led Thrivent Action Teams to support the group and now serve on its local management team with the Prudhoms, the Pikes and others.
Kim Vogel, a Thrivent Financial professional in Kenosha, and his wife, Louise, also answered the call and made donations. Vogel and his daughter and business partner, Kelly Banner, helped organize events. Other Thrivent members have directed Thrivent Choice Dollars® to the group.
Local companies responded, too. One provides warehouse space for the group to keep lumber, build beds and store them for delivery. Businesses, social groups, churches and individuals donate money for supplies. And church groups supply bedding, including handmade quilts.
Every couple of months, when enough materials have accumulated, several dozen volunteers typically spend a day building about two dozen beds. With more than 300 beds built so far, you’d think they would be close to meeting the need in the area. Not so, says Niccolai. “It’s surprisingly great; the requests for beds just keep coming in.”