FLUSHING TWP. — Several area children in need will soon have beds to call their own, thanks to the efforts of a local group that’s doing its part to end “bedlessness.”
On April 17, a dozen volunteers with Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) gathered in Flushing Township to build bunk beds for kids in Genesee, Shiawassee and Tuscola counties. Volunteers rolled up their sleeves to sand and stain lumber and construct bed frames in an assembly line format, finishing 10 beds over the course of the day.
Families who qualified for beds through the SHP program will also get mattresses, pillows and bedsheets with the delivery of their beds.
Karen Gasperosky, co-president of the Flushing-MI chapter that includes members from Genesee, Shiawassee and Tuscola counties, said that her organization helps children in poverty who don’t have beds, as well as families who have been displaced by other circumstances, such as a fire, a natural disaster or a domestic situation.
“Around two to three percent of children in this country routinely sleep on the floor or on couches because they have no better place to sleep,” she said. “It affects how they do in school, how they do in sports and just their overall self-confidence.”
Sleep in Heavenly Peace was started in 2012 by Twin Falls, Idaho resident Luke Mickelson, who built a bed for a single parent family during Christmastime. What started as a local goodwill project soon transformed into a national non-profit that builds and delivers high-quality bunk beds for families across the country and created a network of volunteer chapters throughout the United States and Canada.
In addition to solving the problem of “bedlessness,” Gasperosky said that SHP’s mission is to enhance the lives of children who receive the bunk beds.
“For us, it’s more than just about giving them a bed,” she said. “It’s about providing them with an opportunity to sleep better and have a better quality of life.”
Gasperosky’s chapter will be participating in SHP’s annual Bunks Across America event on June 12, which is the nation’s largest bed building event in a single day. To volunteer, visit shpbeds.org and look for the Flushing-MI chapter under the “Find My Chapter” tab.
The Flushing-MI chapter is also looking for sponsors and a venue to build in for Bunks Across America. Those interested in sponsoring the build or providing space for the project can contact Karen Gasperosky at Karen.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Residents who would like to contribute funds to the Flushing-MI chapter can visit the group’s booth at the annual M15 Garage Sale, which runs from April 29 to May 1. The chapter will have a booth set up in front of the Millington Pharmacy on 8542 State Road in Millington. All proceeds from the section will benefit the chapter and its project operations.