(Atchison,KS) Most charities try to focus on providing food or clothing to kids in need, but a new non-profit is looking to help kids sleeping on the floor.
Luke Mickelson started Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) in 2012 in Idaho, with the goal of getting kids in his community into beds of their own.
"Sleep in Heavenly Peace is a non-profit organization that has a mission to get kids off the floor. Our mission statement is 'No kid sleeps on the floor in our town' and we want to make everybody's town our town," Mickelson said.
Students at Benedictine College plan to make it their mission in Atchison, Kansas after they started a SHP chapter in May.
Patrick O’Malley, Assistant Professor of Engineering and Co-President of the SHP chapter, said students meet in the engineering machine shop periodically throughout the year to build beds for kids in need.
"We build beds for kids that are either sleeping on the floor or in uncomfortable situations like sharing with a sibling," O’Malley said.
The organization operates on solely on donations and provides everything a child needs for a good night sleep including a new mattress, sheets and pillows. Volunteers said they typically build about 20 beds over a two to three hour session. After the beds are built, students deliver and install the beds for families in the area.
“Just seeing the joy on their faces is something that, it melts my heart. I can’t even describe it, it’s hard to describe unless someone actually comes and builds and delivers with us,”Co-president of SHP and Benedictine Senior Saige Baalman said
Mickelson said while the need is often hidden in most communities, it is much larger than people think.
"The need is everywhere, it is hidden from the public, but there is a need. In most areas, it's about two percent of the population," Mickelson said.
Carol Hink is a part of that two percent. Hink is a single grandmother in Atchison, Kansas helping her daughter raise her three grandsons. Hink’s two youngest grandsons Jason, age 11, and Jacob, age 7, received a new bunk bed from SHP.
"It makes my heart explode, it makes me feel that great, because they've had mattresses but they've been sleeping on the floor with the mattresses. This will be the first time they'll be up off the floor," Hink said.
O’Malley said as the Atchison SHP chapter grows, they are getting more requests for kids in the area in need of a new place to sleep.
"Right now we have requests open for 62 beds between Atchison, Leavenworth and St. Joe," O’Malley said.
Nationally the organization is seeing an increase in requests and since its founding and has expanded over 40 different states across the country.
"Since May, we've received over 5,400 bed applications. Each application is on average about 3 kids, so that's 15,000 kids that have requested beds in the last 90 days," Mickelson said.
If you would like to make a donation or request a bed for a child in need you can find more information at www.shpbeds.org.
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