In 2012, Luke Mickelson’s kids were bored over Christmas break, the new Christmas gifts were not cutting it. So, Mickelson, of Kimberly, Idaho, decided to do a service project. He grabbed some wood from his shed and his family built a bunk bed. Afterward, he went to his church to find someone in need. One of the parishioners raised their hand, confessing their children sleep on the floor. Mickelson was shocked, attending an affluent church, he did not expect “bedlessness” to be an issue. After doing some more research, he learned children sleeping on the floor is a big problem.
Mickelson started Sleep in Heavenly Peace with the mission of “No Kid Sleeps on the Floor in Our Town.” However, the non-profit has rapidly expanded internationally, with over 200 chapters throughout the U.S., Canada and Bermuda. In Columbus, Sleep in Heavenly Peace got its start after the founder, Michael Wood, heard about the non-profit on Joy FM. After attending a build in LaGrange, he was hooked and created a local chapter in September 2019. “Right now, the demand has been keeping up with supply,” explains Wood. “We’re still growing, I wouldn’t even say growing, we’re still trying to get the word out—get volunteers,” he continues, “Which is kind of a catch22. We need beds and inventory to cover any requests. But, when we get the word out, what happens most is the requests.”
Since its start, SHP has built 26 beds for local children. Each bed is made from the same plans. The beds are dipped in a tank of vinegar and steel wool and each bed is branded with the SHP logo. SHP offers single beds or ladder-free bunks. The non-profit provides beds for youths in need within a 30-minute radius from the Columbus Metro area. Those in need of a bed can request one online. SHP delivers the bed and dresses it. When the volunteers leave, the bed is ready for a peaceful sleep.
How to Help: If you’re interested in volunteering with Sleep in Heavenly Peace, visit their website and click “VOLUNTEER.” Volunteers of all ages and experience levels are welcome. No tools are required. Most builds begin at 8 am with tear down before noon. If you are not able to volunteer for a build, SHP is also in need of new, twin-sized bedding, pillows and mattresses. Additionally, SHP will be hosting a large build on September 26th for Bunks Across America, sponsored by Calvary Church.
Follow SHP on social media for more info on local builds and ways to help @SHPColumbus or visit them online www.shpbeds.org/chapter/ga-columbus.