Thousands of volunteers across the country dedicated their Saturday to building something many of us take for granted – a bed. Sleep in Heavenly Peace is a nonprofit organization with a goal to end child bedlessness across the United States. For the first time, it hosted Bunks Across America, bringing together 6,000 volunteers in 110 cities to build more than 3,000 bunk beds. Lowe’s contributed $350,000 in product to support the national day. Sleep in Heavenly Peace started in 2012 with just one bed in one garage.
“We know that every town has the same problem that we see and that’s kids sleeping on the floor,” said Luke Michelson, the organization’s founder. “We’re not going to have kids sleep on the floor in our town if we have anything to do with it.”
That resonates for a city like Atlanta, where an estimated 3,400 children do not have a bed. Fourteen Lowe’s stores hosted builds in their parking lots as part of Bunks Across America; associates from each of those stores helped construct the beds too. That included red vest volunteers and 1,800 square feet of parking lot space at a North Atlanta store – filled with building materials, tools and 150 volunteers happy to build 40 bunk beds and provide a safe place for children to sleep.
In Omaha, Nebraska – one of many Midwest cities that’s experienced record flooding this year – a majority of the 50 bunk beds built will be given to flood victims who are moving back into rebuilt homes. The Omaha Sleep in Heavenly Peace chapter recently delivered bunk beds to a mom and her four children who lost everything in one of those floods. The chapter’s co-president, Dustin Fulton, observed the apartment only had pots and pans, the four beds and a bag of clothes for each child.
“It was so humbling to see. Even though they had next to nothing, there was a sense of joy in the apartment, as they were finally able to restart their lives,” Fulton said.
A South Dakota build had an even more personal connection for one Lowe’s store, where more than 200 volunteers helped build more than 250 beds. While delivering items for a bunk bed build earlier this year a Lowe’s associate became curious about the organization, eventually telling the chapter president that two of his six children sleep on the floor in their home. The associate was encouraged to apply for bunk beds, and he did. They will be delivered to his home soon.
This isn’t the first time Lowe’s stores have partnered with Sleep in Heavenly Peace. The original chapter began in 2012 in Twin Falls, Idaho with support from its local Lowe’s store. Several additional U.S. stores have chosen to work with local Sleep in Heavenly Peace chapters for Lowe’s Heroes, a company-wide volunteer program that offers Lowe’s associates the opportunity to support local community improvement projects.
See below for additional photos from the Atlanta build event.