Sleep in Heavenly Peace is a national organization with the mission that “no kid sleeps on the floor in our town.” Rocky Mount’s local chapter serves the Twin Counties and delivers over 200 beds each year. Led by Frank Hernandez and Michael Sohn, SHP Rocky Mount builds bed frames in a local workshop, collects the mattresses and bedding, and, finally, delivers the bed to a child in need. Hernandez describes the organization and its volunteers as “humans helping humans.”
After the bed frames have been built and materials gathered, the team sets out on their delivery. Teams of 3-6 typically deliver and assemble the beds to the homes. The process is streamlined for efficiency, and teams are often able to get in and out in a few minutes. The bed frames are built in a way to need only a few bolts drilled in, which is a key to the assembly process.
Residents in need can apply for beds, and SHP will schedule a delivery time for the family to receive their new bed. Applicants must be the legal guardian of a child between 3 and 17 years old. The organization determines which children need the beds most urgently, and they work to fulfill those needs as quickly as possible. They receive several applications each week with an average request of 2.5 beds per application.
Since SHP Rocky Mount built their first bed on January 1, 2019, they have delivered 613 beds to date. It is their goal to deliver a bed for every completed application on their list in their end-of-the-year push called Operation Sleigh Bells on Saturday, December 10. They currently have around 80 beds to deliver.
The Rocky Mount chapter is also working to start a subchapter in Williamston that will serve Martin County, and they hope to begin within the next few weeks.
Hernandez noted that they do not need more volunteers for Operation Sleigh Bells, but people can help in other ways, specifically by donating to help them buy last-minute items like bolts and rods. End-of-the-year financial contributions are crucial to the chapter having the necessary funds and inventory to be successful next year. SHP is a local non-profit and 90% of the funds they receive stay in the community while the remaining 10% goes to the national organization.
SHP also accepts donations for bedding, including beds in a bag or twin-size sheets, blankets, and pillows, which several organizations throughout the area provide through various collection drives. Those interested in volunteering or learning about opportunities to get involved can do so here. Organizations can also establish a partnership with SHP by having their own build days.
SHP will make their final deliveries for the year during Operation Sleigh Bells, and then they will have a hold on all deliveries until early February. Hernandez noted that their goal for next year is to put the chapter out of business by providing a bed for every child in need. You can find out more information by checking out their chapter’s website.