Building a good night’s sleep: Vernon group ensures all kids have a bed

Sleep In Heavenly Peace made up of volunteers who build bunk beds for those who have nothing to sleep on

Sleep in Heavenly Peace Vernon members put together a bunk bed, which will be put to use in a North Okanagan home. The goal of the newly formed group is to make sure nobody sleeps on a floor or a couch. (Tom Skinner photo)

Sleep in Heavenly Peace Vernon members put together a bunk bed, which will be put to use in a North Okanagan home. The goal of the newly formed group is to make sure nobody sleeps on a floor or a couch. (Tom Skinner photo)

Tom Skinner

Contributor

Every town or city has a different feel. They’re all a little bit different, and yet similar, in so many ways.

What makes Vernon unique for me is the ‘connectedness’ that is evident in so many aspects of the community.

I want to explain what I’ve learned about Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP), a newly formed organization in Vernon, as recently as Saturday, Dec. 11, at Staples.

At 9 a.m., my wife and I drove into the parking lot looking for the Collis family of Bud and Betty of Christmas Tree Farm in Lumby. As I recognized them, I also noticed two newer familiar faces, Leo Campeau and Hugh MacKay.

Both of these gentlemen are a part of SHP. Their mission, and in fact, the mission of SHP is to ensure that “no kids sleep on the floor in our town.”

SHP has its beginnings in Twin Falls, Idaho, where a community project involved making bunk beds for families. In 2012, 11 beds were constructed by a church group and later more beds were built by a single family.

When beds were advertised, people supported the organization with donations of mattresses, sheets, afghans, and pillows.

The organization grew, and chapters increased throughout the U.S. and now, it has made its way to Canada. British Columbia’s very first chapter is in Vernon, and the story is pretty much the same.

A group of men belonging to a group called Men’s Shed heard about SHP. They were able to put their woodworking skills to use following guidelines supplied by SHP to build beds for youngsters who might normally sleep on the floor.

Two of these gentlemen were at Staples Saturday morning, assembling and setting up a bunk bed.

I’ve had my share of assembling furniture, with and without directions. Sometimes things go awry, often because of small inaccuracies in cutting or drilling. These beds are made to exact specifications, the holes are pre-drilled using a jig, and the pieces are then joined with lag bolts. The wooden framed beds are soaked in a stain bath made of a mixture of vinegar and steel wool. Some beds are singles and some are bunk beds. The bunks are joined with dowels, which are drilled with exact precision in order to line up. It is evident the plan produces a safe long-lasting product.

I first found out about SHP from our friends Bud and Betty. Over the years the Christmas Tree Ranch has frequently stepped up to the plate and run a raffle for a charitable organization.

At Staples on Saturday they were able to present a donation of $910 to Sleep in Heavenly Peace.

In addition to collecting money at Christmas Tree Ranch, they worked with a small crew outside Fisher’s Hardware recently, and collected donations to add to their total. Weather permitting they will be back with the Christmas Tree Ranch official Piper on Thursday, Dec. 16, from 1-3 p.m. Also, weather permitting, you can look for a Bunk Bed Donation display to be set up within the next week at RONA. In the interim please go to the SHP Vernon Facebook page and find out how to donate, and receive an income tax receipt.

Items sought to complete the bed projects include new, twin sized bed sheets, comforters, quilts, afghans, pillows and pillow cases.

Thanks in advance for joining the SHP Team in Vernon, in hoping to ensure that “No Kids sleep on the floor in our town.”

SLEEP IN HEAVENLY PEACE VERNON

The chapter is one of only five in Canada and the only one in B.C. It started in August and there are currently six members – five men, one woman – including publicity director Leo Campeau.

“The reception to our group has been magnificent,” said Campeau at Staples where there is a Fill The Bunk display which shows the bunk beds made by the chapter with the hope that the community will donate new bedding accessories. Fill The Bunk is on at Staples until the new year, and there will be one at RONA on select weekends through the holiday season.

So far, the group has made 30 beds with 10 mattresses bought by the chapter and 10 donated by Mattress Mattress in Kelowna.

SHP uses the shop at W.L. Seaton to build the beds with help from the school’s shop students. “They’ve been fantastic to us and fantastic to work with,” said Campeau.

Corporate sponsorship for the group has been received from Tolko, RONA, Kal Tire and Kalamalka Rotary.

Campeau said there are about 260 people in the North Okanagan from Enderby to Lumby sleeping on floors or without a bed. If you’d like to donate time, money, build materials, new twin bedding, new twin mattresses or new pillows, phone 1-844-432-2337 ext. 6104 or visit shpbeds.ca.

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