Making sure no kid sleeps on the floor: Brookings Sleep in Heavenly Peace chapter partners with SDSU foundation to make beds for local kids Original

Footage of Friday’s event courtesy of SDSU Foundation

BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO)– On Friday, the South Dakota State University Foundation partnered with the Brookings chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace to build 15 beds for local children in need.

This event was part of the Foundation’s “Jacks Give Back” week, where Jackrabbits from across the country come together to give back to their local communities, Brittany Peterson, Executive Assistant to the President and CEO of the SDSU Foundation said.

Photo courtesy of SDSU Foundation

“When we heard about Sleep in Heavenly Peace, we just knew that we wanted to partner with them and really support this effort,” Peterson said.

The group had 20-25 volunteers at the event, Peterson said. Sleep in Heavenly Peace brought all the supplies directly to them and trained them on how to use everything.

Photo courtesy of SDSU Foundation

“One of the kind of neat things about it is you don’t need any experience working with power tools and so that was really nice for people like me that don’t really use those types of things on a daily basis,” Peterson said.

The most impactful part of working with the organization was know that the people they are helping are local, Peterson said.

“To think about someone in our town going to sleep without a bed is just absolutely heartbreaking,” Peterson said.

The beds made by SDSU volunteers are among dozens delivered already this year.

Something that has stuck out to her during the deliveries is that some of the children have never been in a bed, said Vicki McDougall, Bedding Coordinator for the Brookings Chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace said.

“It is a very overwhelming thing when you go on a delivery,” McDougall said.

Photo courtesy of SDSU Foundation

Dave Miller, President of the Brookings Sleep in Heavenly Peace chapter said it was great to work with the SDSU Foundation.

“It was just so fun to see that team together, everybody wearing their Jacks Give Back shirts and they had a great time at the build, again its a great team building opportunity and at the end of it, fifteen kids will get beds,” Miller said.

He said he is grateful to the Foundation for reaching out to them because without the community support they can not make the beds happen. The group is non-profit, Miller said, and relies on financial support and having people come to participate in bed building.

In previous years, Jacks Give Back week has partnered with Jacks Cupboard for their event, Peterson said. They enjoyed working with the Sleep in Heavenly Peace group and plan to make it an annual event.

Photo courtesy of SDSU Foundation

This Saturday at 1 p.m., Sleep in Heavenly Peace will be hosting another build at the Abundant Life Church, Miller said. They will also be hosting an event called “Bunks Across America” on June 12, where all the chapters across the country will be building beds that day, with the goal of making 6,000 beds in one day. This will be in the Brookings Lowes parking lot starting at 9 a.m. The chapter is hoping to build 60 beds that day.

The Brookings chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace began in June 2018 and now has built over 1,000 beds for children in need throughout the community and have had over 50 organized bed building events.

Footage of Friday’s event courtesy of SDSU Foundation

“It’s just been an amazing journey,” Miller said. “I’m amazed by the number of kids that are sleeping on the floor, with over a thousand beds built and delivered there’s still a huge need out there.”

In the last three weeks, the chapter has had over 30 bed request come in, Miller said.

Photo courtesy of SHP Brookings

The chapter has a shop in Brookings, thanks to the generosity of Paul Moriarty, Miller said, which allows the group to make beds in the shop as well as do their off-site organized builds.

The beds cost $150 dollars to build and come with a mattress and bedding, Miller said. Each group that hosts an organized build will sponsor the beds and then help with the building process.

Photo courtesy of SHP Brookings

There are also several people who donate bedding, stuffed animals and books, McDougall said.

Footage of Friday’s event courtesy of SDSU Foundation

The building process is simple, Miller said. They use basic construction lumber, cut them to length, sand, drill and then assemble and stain them.

Anyone can participate, he said. It’s a great team-building activity.

Photo courtesy of SHP Brookings

“We’ve had kids as young as five years old just coming simply moving boards from one station to the next,” Miller said. “We’ve had people in the eighties to come do builds.”

They have also had families come build beds instead of doing a Christmas celebration, he said.

Miller said the real magic happens when they are able to go deliver the beds. Before he started with Sleep in Heavenly Peace, he had no idea how much of a struggle it is for so many people in the local community.

Photo courtesy of SHP Brookings

McDougall said what is really sad is that a lot of people in the community did not realize the need in this area.

In Brookings, you don’t understand or think about the magnitude of what really is happening, McDougall said.

“In many small towns, it’s a very quiet situation,” McDougall said. “You’ve got teenagers sleeping on their friends couch, you got kids, little kids, spending the night over at somebodies house that has a bed. It’s a continuous roaming situation.”

Photo courtesy of SHP Brookings

The group does bed deliveries twice a month, Miller said. When someone needs a bed, they visit the website, select the closest chapter to them and request a bed. There are no income requirements or qualifications.

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