SHP continues mission across Jones County

Emma Richter of Hopkinton and Pat Slater of Olin volunteered for the SHP build day. Volunteers of all ages and abilities came together. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

The Jones County chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) was busy over the weekend building 40 new beds for children in the county who go without. 

With 51 volunteers of all ages, the winter workshop was held at Welter Storage Equipment in Monticello. This was the fourth “bed build” since SHP started in March 2019. 

The mission of SHP is to provide beds and bedding for every child in Jones County. Heather Weers of Anamosa, local SHP director, said they typically don’t hold winter builds because of lack of space. However, after delivering 80 beds to date, their stock has run out. 

“We have kiddos on the waiting list and we want to get them beds ASAP,” said Weers. 

Those in need or those who know of someone in need for a bed simply go online to apply for a new twin bed ( Weers receives the application and gets in touch with the family for particulars. 

“At this moment, we have 18 kids on our waiting list,” she said. “That number can change at any given moment.” 

SHP serves children ages 3 to 17. Families can request however many beds they need for their children. 

“The family can make the decision if they prefer a single bed or bunk beds (if more than one bed is requested),” explained Weers. “Different families have different living spaces/situations, so we want to be as convenient as possible.” 

The build days are simply just for prepping the materials. The beds don’t get assembled until they arrive at the family’s home. 

Weers, who also serves as Jones County’s CPPC (Community Partnerships for Protecting Children) director, knew there was a huge need for beds in the area. What surprised her was the rate at which the requests have been pouring in. 

“‘Do you have a bed to sleep in?’ is not a question asked of most kids,” she said. “I hope people are now starting to ask that question so we can help those kids who need it. 

“It makes a huge difference for a kid to not only have a bed to sleep in, but also their own personal space.” 

When the beds are delivered to the homes, they also come with a new mattress, sheets, a pillow, a comforter/quilt, and a book for the child. The books are courtesy of the Jones County Grace Level Reading initiative (Every Child Reads). Weers said the kids who receive the beds are excited upon arrival. 

“It’s a wonderful feeling to know you helped in some little way,” Weers said. “It’s fun to see the kids jump in bed and cuddle up with their book.” 

Before a bed build can even begin, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to prepare for the day: paperwork, phone calls, funding, meetings, materials to order, etc. Weers joked that the build day is almost the easy part of the job once the day arrives. 

The hardest part, though, is finding places to host the bed build workshops. Not to mention find enough volunteers, order building materials, and make sure all of the tools are in working order. 

“The day of the build is a little hectic with the transporting of materials and tools to the site and getting everything set up,” explained Weers. “But the build itself seems to go fast.” 

Many of the SHP volunteers return to help at the next workshop. 

“All of Jones County SHP is happening only because of volunteers, so I hope everyone that has helped in any way at all knows how much I appreciate them,” expressed Weers. 

Previous builds have resulted in 20 to 30 beds. Weers said they ordered enough material for 40 beds this time, which was accomplished in only three hours. 

Weers said SHP welcomes volunteers of all ages, all skill levels. She said they could teach people how to use the various pieces of equipment. No previous woodworking skills are required. 

Aside from volunteering at the build days, Weers said the biggest way people can help is by spreading the word about SHP’s free beds. 

“I think there are a lot of families we haven’t reached,” she said. 

With word spreading through social media, Weers is cognizant of the fact that not everyone is connected online. Despite word going out via schools and churches, she said more could be done. 

Another way to support SHP is through donations of materials and funding. 

“We always need to buy mattresses for the beds and materials to build the beds,” Weers said. 

You can find out more by visiting their Facebook page (“Sleep in Heavenly Peace – IA, Jones Co”) or website ( 

June 13 is SHP’s nationwide “Bunks Across America” day. All of the chapters across the country will build as many bunk beds as possible that day. Looks for more details on the event as it approaches.


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