Places & Faces
Building Beds for Children: Sulphur Church Engages Community to Help Children Sleep in Heavenly Peace
6/1/2020 10:51:28 AM
Beds for Kids

After a long day, we often look forward to nestling in our beds and drifting off to a restful night’s sleep. Sleep is one of life’s most basic necessities, after all; but what about children who don’t have a bed to sleep in?


It’s a harsh reality, and members of Henning Memorial United Methodist Church in Sulphur are committed to having "no kid sleep on the floor in our town” by hosting a local chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP).  


SHP is a nonprofit organization with chapters worldwide led by volunteers dedicated to building, assembling and delivering bunk beds to families in need. Delivery team coordinator Mike Granger calls the ministry "almost addictive” because they’re transforming lives.

"You get a 10-year-old who’s never slept in a bed before, and you have a chance to bring him a bed. I really think that’s going to change his life and he’ll always remember when he’s older talking about when he first slept in a bed,” Granger said.  "I get excited about it because you see the smiles on the kids’ faces, the little kids jumping up and down because they can’t wait to get in the bed.”


Paul Warner, Sulphur chapter president, said, "For somewhere between $300 and $350, we can put a bunk bed in a family’s home equipped with a mattress, blankets, sheets, pillowcases, fully ready to be used.” Children also receive pillowcases and drawstring bags embroidered with their names along with their new beds."   


Being on the team of building the beds is not only for church members – they are open to any interested volunteer. Dates are posted on the Sulphur chapter’s Facebook page. The chapter held five bed builds and delivered approximately 70 beds to needy families in West Calcasieu Parish (Sulphur, Westlake, Hackberry, Starks, Vinton and DeQuincy) before the onset of COVID-19. The chapter’s stated goal is to deliver 150 beds this year. Using an assembly line, the group constructs approximately 25-30 beds in around three hours. "We’ve found there’s a lot of people who want to do this. At a typical build we have about 75 volunteers.” 


Rev. Ellen Alston, Pastor of Henning Memorial, said it’s a joy to see men, women and even children get involved in the ministry (SHP requires children under 18 to sign a release before participating). "It means so much that we are meeting a real need in the community,” Alston said. "There’s no one that doesn’t need a good night’s sleep, and it takes an adequate space provided to be able to get that. We want to make this ministry as accessible to everyone as we possibly can. I’ve been on a delivery, and to see those moments where a child realizes, ‘Wow, this is going to be my bed!’ and to hand them the pillowcase and the drawstring bag with their name on it – sometimes they don’t want to let it go! The joy and blessing it can bring to a child and to their family and to that household is priceless.”


Granger hopes SHP-Sulphur continues to grow when they are able to resume operations. He can’t wait until he hears cheers of "Here come the bed people!” from the delivery truck again.


"Everybody is excited about it, whether it be participating, or donations of money or bedding,” he said. "It’s one big mission that the whole church and the whole community can get involved in. Everyone can rally around it.”


To request a bed, visit www.shpbeds.org/request-free-twin-bed. For more information, see their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SHPSulphur.

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