The sound of sanders, drills and buzz saws could be heard outside River Arena at the Douglas County Fairgrounds on Saturday. Three assembly lines comprised of more than 100 volunteers worked in the summer heat to build 50 bunk beds to be donated to those in need. The back of their blue shirts read: “No kid sleeps on the floor in our town.”
They came from as far north as Eugene and as far south as Grants Pass for the event, named the “Mega Bed Build.” A total of three Sleep in Heavenly Peace chapters, a nonprofit whose goal is to ensure no kid sleeps without a bed, were there.
“Having a bed is something a lot of us take for granted,” said J.P. Wilson, founder of the SHP Umpqua Valley chapter. “I think it’s just something that we don’t consider, that people may not have a bed to sleep in.”
The total cost per bunk is $340, which includes materials, building the bunks and delivery, Wilson said. A lot of the bedding and materials are donated, and a single assembly line of volunteers can make about 20 bunks in a three-hour time span.
Sanding the boards of wood was Connie Jonas, president of the SHP chapter in Eugene. She explained how important the group’s work is to the community.
“It’s very important for kids who are sleeping on the floor, families that can’t afford a bed. It’s that simple, simple thing that they don’t have and we’re here to help provide that,” she said. “To see the joy on a child’s face when you deliver it is amazing.”
“It’s the icing on the cake. If I could take my greatest skeptic to a delivery,” Wilson said. “You see the excitement on their face, it’s incredible. It’s life changing.”
Holly Russell of Roseburg was at the staining stationing, dipping completed headboards into a vat of wood stain. This was her first time helping out at a SHP event and she brought her two kids along.
“It just seemed like a great way to spend a morning,” she said.
The Umpqua chapter delivered their first bed back in May and show no sign of slowing down anytime soon. So far they’ve delivered more than 50 beds to kids throughout Douglas County and are struggling to keep up with the demand.
“I’m always looking for sponsors; I’m looking for volunteers,” Wilson said. “I’ll go anywhere to talk to anybody,” “I’m like a Tickle Me Elmo — pull my string, I talk about SHP. “
Visit www.shpbeds.org for more information on how to request a bed, volunteer or donate to SHP.