Volunteers to build beds for kids

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David Gardner sands wood that will be used to build beds Friday at the Sleep in Heavenly Peace workshop in Rocky Mount.


Staff Writer

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Frank Hernandez hopes to be able to help about 200 kids get tucked into soft warm beds in the coming months after a Sleep in Heavenly Peace community build project on Saturday at Lowe's Home Improvement.

Sleep in Heavenly Peace is partnering with Lowe’s Home Improvement of Rocky Mount thru the 2019 Lowe’s Hero’s Project. Designed to give back to the local community, this program will involve several employee volunteers as well as the local store donating the materials necessary to build 80 of the 200 beds scheduled to be built on Saturday.

Each complete bunk bed — including new twin linens, pillows and new mattresses — costs about $300 to complete. The labor to build the bed is provided by volunteers.

Hernandez said the community build at Lowe's will help to raise awareness in the Twin Counties about what Sleep in Heavenly Peace does.

"We're some volunteers, some dads, just some people that care, that don't want kids sleeping on the floor in our town," Hernandez said. "We feel it's a good use of our time, our resources to offer families beds for their kids that otherwise couldn't afford them."

Families fill out online applications to request beds. After an initial screening via the corporate office of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Hernandez gets the applications and adds the families to the local waiting list. He said right now, they've got about 70 local kids waiting for beds.

The community build on Saturday at Lowe's will offer a place for families to fill out an application to receive a bed; be a place for anyone to come volunteer and help build beds; be a drop-off site for new bedding, pillows or donations for mattresses; and be a place for people to sign up to be a future volunteer.

Hernandez said he hopes when people see the beds and how they're built, more people will be interested in helping the non-profit.

"The No. 1 way we get these beds built is for civic groups, church groups or businesses to raise the money for the supplies and offer manpower to help build beds. We need donations to buy the materials and getting the hands-on-experience of building the beds really drives home the purpose and end result of their good deed," Hernandez said.

Some of the groups that have participated in bed building include the Junior Guild of Rocky Mount, Pfizer, Qualis Management and Boddie Noell.

For Saturday's build event, Lowe's is donating much of the building supplies and Farmington Heights Church in Wilson has made monetary donations to help with other supplies.

Also planning to be at the event are members of First United Methodist Church of Rocky Mount. The church is donating money to go toward needed supplies and will be bringing volunteers to help build the bunk beds and deliver the beds.

The Rev. Daniel Mullens, youth pastor at First United Methodist Church, said it's something he's excited to get the young people at the church involved in.

"We hope to make a positive difference in our community for the Kingdom of God. Moving forward this year, our desire is for our teenagers to both give back and pay it forward through service as a response of obedience to Jesus' commission to us to go and make disciples of all people. And the only way to make disciples is by going out and meeting people. Serving people. And being committed to making a difference in their lives without any expectation in return,” Mullens said. “My hope is that our teenagers will continue to grow in their faith and truly learn what it means to love and serve others, just as Jesus Christ continues to love and has served us through giving everything he has on our behalf.”

Hernandez said he wished everyone could see how excited the kids are when he and other volunteers deliver the beds.

"It's like Christmas morning," Hernandez said. "We make the kids stay out of the room while we put them together and get them made up, and they're just bouncing off the walls, ready to see them," he said with a laugh.

"So you have the kids so happy and excited, and the parents or the mom is happy too. It's humbling to see a mom tearful because somebody brought their kid a bed," he said. "We just see this as something we can fix, something we can make better for the moms and the kids. So, we do it."

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