In America, it’s estimated that about 3 percent of children are without a bed, creating what a Valley nonprofit calls a national bed crisis.
In the shadow of that crisis, Sleep in Heavenly Peace has one goal: to make and deliver beds to children who don’t have one.
“We need other people who believe what we believe: that no child should sleep on the floor when we can do something about it in our town. And we’re just really passionate about serving kids in need and their families,” said Joe Genovese, president of the Arizona chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace in Scottsdale.
Buckeye’s Parker Fasteners stepped in and helped. On Aug. 14, employees, community members and first responders built beds from scratch for children.
“It was our 30th mobile build so it was huge for us,” Genovese said. “Parker Fasteners put up the money for us to build a minimum of 50 beds, provided the volunteers and the space, and we brought all of our equipment and all of our team leaders to Buckeye. We set a record on Saturday, we built 90 beds in five hours. It was just amazing.”
One of 270 chapters in the country, the Scottsdale nonprofit serves about 40 ZIP codes, with a concentration within the loops 101 and 202.
Genovese said the backlog of more than 150 bed requests proves the need.
“I think the main reason we’re successful is we’re helping the most innocent and vulnerable among us – children. They don’t get to make choices in their lives and sometimes they’re just in circumstances, unfortunate as they may be, that they have no control over,” he said.
“People come out and they feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment. It’s fulfilling. It’s heartwarming for kids. It’s fun. It gets people out of the house and into the community doing something worthwhile and meaningful.”
Applying for help is simple, with only one question required to answer, “Do you need a bed?”
If the answer is yes, you’re approved.
“The only requirement is that if your child doesn’t have a bed, we’re going to give them a bed, that’s the only thing that’s important to us. So, to qualify is not that difficult,” Genovese said.
“We have a lot of families who are coming out of homeless shelters who lost everything because of changing life circumstances, maybe a fire, maybe a broken family, whatever the case may be. If a child doesn’t have a bed, we’re going to find a way to find a sponsor to help us build them and then put delivery teams together of volunteers to go out and deliver and assemble.”
Matthew Boyd, vice president of sales with Parker Fasteners, spoke highly of Sleep in Heavenly Peace.
“It is such a well-run organization,” Boyd said. “I like how people with no experience whatsoever in woodworking could be involved, show up and make a really big impact in half a day’s work was very appealing.
“So, our company decided earlier this year that we wanted to give back to the community, and we had a few different options that everyone put up on the board and this organization, Sleep in Heavenly Peace, the company decided would be a good way to make an impact on the local community.”
“We had roughly 80 members and family members from our company alone come up along with other local volunteers, and we put together 90 and a half beds that day. That’s cutting out the lumber, sanding and drilling it, staining the lumber for the beds, and we also did a delivery of a bunk bed system that day,” Boyd said.
Boyd said his employees bonded and it was a memorable experience.
With the primary goal of supplying children with beds, Genovese said the experience and comradery of the build events make Sleep in Heavenly Peace so special.
“We also build a sense of community,” Genovese said. “And I know that sounds kind of altruistic but that’s what we do.”
Genovese encouraged the community to help if they’re able. There are many ways to help a child get a bed, something so many people take for granted every day.
“Make a donation, volunteer, help the family in need. That really does add meaning to your life,” he said. “Yes, it’s hard work, but it’s fulfilling and meaningful work, and it’s fun. Just to see the joy on the faces of children, nothing else really matters in that moment.”