GRANT COUNTY - “It’s tough crawling into bed at night and getting comfortable knowing there are kids out there who don’t have a bed to sleep in.” That was how the Grant County Chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace President Leon Neuheisel described his feelings about participating in the Sleep in Heavenly Peace Program.
Neuheisel read about the program in a newspaper and was shook up to learn so many children are without beds.
“I read that article and it really grabbed me,” Neuheisel said. “I called a friend and told him about the program and he said count me in, and now we have a core group of eight people preparing for a build.”
According to the Sleep In Heavenly Peace website, “All children deserve a safe, comfortable place to lay their heads. Across the US, too many boys and girls go without a bed or even a pillow to sleep on. These children end up sleeping on couches, blankets and even floors. This can affect their happiness and health.”
The website goes on to explain that Sleep in Heavenly Peace or SHP is a group of volunteers like Neuheisel and the Grant County Chapter, “dedicated to building, assembling and delivering top notch bunk beds to children and families in need.”
The program got its start as they describe “like many other charities, in a garage. It was Christmas time, a time of joy and happiness, a time of giving and love, but also a time of bitter, cold weather and snowstorms. A project that was started with the build of one bed for a single family developed into something a whole lot more.”
Neuheisel shared that the goal of the group will be to provide beds, mattresses, sheets, pillows and blankets to anyone aged 3-17 in Grant County.
He shared that they are looking for individuals or groups who would be interested in helping deliver and set up the beds and “see the smiles on the child’s face when they see their new bed.”
The core group recently held their first build and is accepting applications for those who need beds in the county.
“Everyone I’ve talked to feels it’s a really important thing,” Neuheisel said. “The cooperation has been fantastic.”
Although it is just a core group right now, Neuheisel shared that when warm weather comes there will be more availability to host larger group builds for beds.
“If groups were available in helping build, we could come and do it in their parking lot or other location. We also have a core member who is donating the use of a room in his shed so in warmer weather we can invite people to help do builds outside with us.” For now the group will be working out of a donated space in Platteville.
“You don’t need to be an experienced woodworker to volunteer,” Neuheisel noted. “We will train you how and teach you to use the tools safely.”
The organization provides groups like the Grant County Chapters with all of the blueprints and instructions needed to create bunk and single beds for the children and Neuheisel noted that the community has provided a “tremendous amount of people who want to build.”
In addition to building, others have also been helping by making and donating quilts, including Neuheisel’s granddaughter who made two tie blankets for the project as well.
“Along with their time, people can also donate sheets, pillows and blankets,” Neuheisel noted, adding that those who may be interested in sending a monetary donation to go towards building supplies as well as mattresses and bedding can do so by sending them to SHP WI Grant County, P.O. Box 607 Platteville 53818.
Those interested in more information about the Grant County group can check out their Facebook page at Sleep In Heavenly Peace-WI, Grant County.
Neuheisel added that there are no religious or political affiliations with this group and hopes that many kind-hearted people will be interested in helping out. The group is currently in need of financial support to help purchase a few more tools for their builds as well as mattresses. Donations can be sent to the address included in the article or there is also a link on the groups Facebook page. This link allows donors to also choose specific amounts such as $5 for a pillow or $200 for the full cost of a single bed. “No donation is too small,” Neuheisel noted.“There are many wonderful organizations that provide food and clothing and it is great that they are able to do that, but this is a need a lot of us don’t realize because it’s a need that happens behind closed doors. Many families don’t come straight forward and say my kid needs a bed, but if they know they are available through this program, we hope they will come,” Neuheisel said.