Sawdust filled the air around Sutherlin High School on Friday as students worked diligently to build beds for charity.

“It’s basic woodworking and when you see beds coming out you see what hard work can do,” said Sterling Foster, a sophomore and FFA chapter treasurer. “I hope we can do more events like this in the future.”

Sutherlin’s FFA chapter chose to work with Sleep in Heavenly Peace to build 100 beds for children who do not have beds to sleep in.

About 1 1/2 hours into the event, they were halfway to their goal. By the end the students had built 100 beds and ran out of material to build complete beds, but continued sanding so there will be a head start at the next bed build.

It’s the first time that the Umpqua Valley chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace did a large build like this, but the organization has worked with other schools before.

“It’s pretty ambitious,” J.P. Wilson, founder of the local SHP chapter, said. “The kids have been incredible. I ask them to anything and they just go do it.”

High school students connected with Sleep in Heavenly Peace at the Douglas County Home Show and decided during a chapter meeting that the community project this year would be to help out the organization.

For some students building beds meant learning on the job.

“I know nothing of power tools,” said Grace Matteo, a junior and FFA chapter vice president.

“But the people from Sleep in Heavenly Peace they help us the whole way through. They helped provide tools and I’m learning a lot.”

Wilson said there is always a learning curve during the build, and the organization is happy to teach.

Materials were dropped off to the school Monday and woodshop students pre-cut lumber on Monday and Tuesday.

On Wednesday morning, more wood was delivered to the schools, and Friday morning’s set up for the build started at 5 a.m.

Community members also helped create quilts and donate mattresses. Every bed that’s delivered includes a mattress and blanket.

Matteo said she liked how many people came out and how she was getting an opportunity to get to know other people at the school.

“The best part is see the big group of freshmen that showed up today,” Foster said.

Sleep in Heavenly Peace’s Umpqua Chapter was founded in May 2018 and has delivered 348 days as of Friday.

“After this we’ll be in the black on beds for the first time,” Wilson said. “But that won’t last long.”

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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Education Reporter

Sanne Godfrey is the education reporter for The News-Review.

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