MACOMB — Volunteers from the Macomb Rotary Clubs, the Macomb Lions Club, and the newly-formed Sleep in Heavenly Peace LaHarpe Chapter were busy at work Thursday constructing bed frames for children without a bed of their own to sleep in.
Their goal: to construct 20 wooden-frame beds which will be given to children in need of them. The Macomb Rotary and Macomb Lions Clubs sponsored the bed build and supplied volunteers. Macomb Rotary Club President Tom Stites was among those organizing. “The need is there,” he said. “…We just couldn’t believe the need was here, but it is.”
The effort also cemented the local SHP hopefuls as a chapter of the larger organization, which requires 10 beds be built to achieve chapter status.
More than a dozen olunteers cut and sanded lumber, assembled and drilled pieces into different bed sections, branded the head and foot boards with the SHP logo with an “H” resembling a bunk bed, and finally used a vinegar wash to provide a natural-looking stain and help protect against bed bugs, among other uses.
Origins of the project
Local resident Mike Moore said he’d first heard about the Sleep in Heavenly Peace organization last year while listening to a radio program about the charity. It prompted him to bring the topic of children without beds up during a church fellowship meeting, because he wondered if local children also face this problem.
Some of his fellow church goers were surprised to learn they do when a third-grade teacher from West Prairie Elementary said one of their students had no bed to sleep on.
Moore shared his own personal experience with a child who lacked a bed. His daughter had helped foster a child who, until being taken in, had slept strapped into a car seat. When she had her own bed, she was so proud of it she would show it to visitors, he said.
Moore said he went to Idaho and saw a bed build by an SHP chapter in action. Then he attended a build in Kankakee. Two weeks ago, he attended a build in Carthage that had been initiated by the Lions Club.
The build in Macomb came about after Moore and fellow church-goer Darin Higgins presented their request for help creating a local SHP chapter to the Macomb Rotary Clubs during an August meeting.
The Rotary and the Lions both pitched in to help them meet their goal of creating the LaHarpe chapter, which serves a 50-mile area which includes Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, part of Knox, McDonough and Warren counties.
Moore said that even before attaining official chapter status, the group has filled six requests for beds and has six more requests. All of the requests so far have come from Hancock and McDonough counties.
Speaking to the problem of finding out who needs help, Moore said, “You would never know, I mean, you know, because people are proud.”
He went on to say that his job requires him to stay in touch regularly with local school districts, so he uses the opportunity to get the word out by sharing an information sheet about the organization with teachers and staff. “I said, you guys are on the front lines. You’re the ones who’s going to hear that little kid didn’t have a bed. So it’s just word of mouth.”
For more information about Sleep in Heavenly Peace, go to https://www.shpbeds.org/
Reach Michelle Langhout by email at email@example.com.