Sleep in Heavenly Peace to hold charity drive in Orange

Volunteer organization Sleep in Heavenly Peace donates 15-20 beds a month.

Volunteer organization Sleep in Heavenly Peace donates 15-20 beds a month. PHOTO BY EMILY GAUVIN

A completed bed assembled by volunteers with Sleep in Heavenly Peace. This and other beds are donated to families in need.

A completed bed assembled by volunteers with Sleep in Heavenly Peace. This and other beds are donated to families in need. PHOTO BY EMILY GAUVIN

Eric Grenier stains parts for a bed. Founded in 2012, the Athol-Orange chapter is the only one that Sleep in Heavenly Peace has in Massachusetts.

Eric Grenier stains parts for a bed. Founded in 2012, the Athol-Orange chapter is the only one that Sleep in Heavenly Peace has in Massachusetts. PHOTO BY EMILY GAUVIN

Walter Hubbard (left) and his son, Sleep in Heavenly Peace’s Orange-Athol Chapter Co-President Scott Hubbard, work on a section of a bed to be donated.

Walter Hubbard (left) and his son, Sleep in Heavenly Peace’s Orange-Athol Chapter Co-President Scott Hubbard, work on a section of a bed to be donated. PHOTO BY EMILY GAUVIN

By ABNER ROJAS

For the Recorder

Published: 02-27-2024 3:43 PM

ORANGE — Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a volunteer organization dedicated to making and delivering beds free of charge for children in need, will be holding a can, bottle and bedding drive on March 16.

The fundraiser will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at the Orange American Legion on Daniel Shay’s highway in Orange.

”We do everything we can to make sure that every child that needs a bed gets one,” said Orange-Athol Chapter Co-President Scott Hubbard. “We try to have a stockpile of mattresses and supplies so if someone calls, we’ll have it ready, and they can have it within a day or two. I think we’ve got a bit of a backlog, but we just have to get them out there and get them delivered.”

Starting as volunteers for Sleep in Heavenly Peace in 2020 before eventually opening their own chapter in Orange, Scott and Tammy Hubbard, who also serves as the chapter’s co-president, have been building and delivering beds to the children of Massachusetts for three years.

Averaging 15 to 20 deliveries a month, the chapter has supplied beds for children in Greenfield, Gardner, Winchendon, Athol, Royalston, Springfield, Worcester and Holyoke, among others.

The organization is hoping the drive will draw more volunteers, donations and sponsors to keep it up and running.

”If we do not have the community to help because we are a non-profit, then unfortunately there are going to be instances where we do have to say ‘no’ to an applicant and put them on a wait list, which we don’t want,” said volunteer and organizer Emily Gauvin. “We want to be able to provide for anyone that does apply for them.”

Working with the Templeton Development Center, volunteers will collect, sort and recycle collected cans and bottles. Organizers aim to make it as easy as possible, with stations for cans and bottles for those donating to drop off.

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”The people donating do not need to worry about sorting to donate — they can actually just drive right up to the station, and we will unload,” Gauvin said. ”They don’t even need to get out of the car if they don’t want to.”

The goal for the drive is $600. All proceeds will go to the chapter’s next bed build, scheduled in a few months to provide mattresses and beds. Brand-new twin-size bedding also will be accepted.

”Besides the cans and bottles, as we know not everybody has recyclables to be able to donate, we are also having donation boxes set up where somebody can donate a pillow or a sheet set, or blankets, so that way we do have multiple options for people to able to donate,” Gauvin said.

While donations are important, sponsors are equally vital. Lowes and HART Tools — the chapter’s two main sponsors — have provided tools and supplies, such as lumber, screws, drills and sanders in addition to awarding grants.

“We actively look for a sponsor for that build. We go to corporations, companies around here,” Scott said. “Currently, we’re asking for $2,500 to sponsor a full build. And that covers everything we need for it, including the bedding.”

According to Scott and Tammy, $2,500 is enough for 10 beds, including the mattres and bedding.

Sleep in Heavenly Peace is a nationwide nonprofit organziatino that builds, assembles and delivers beds to children ages 3-17 years old at no cost. It was founded in Kimerbly, Idaho, in 2012 with the slogan, “No child sleeps on the floor in my town.” The beds are delivered to families in need who are struggling financially and trying to get back on their feet.”

“The majority of the places we go to are very, very poverty-stricken, very rundown,” Gauvin said. “You can tell they don’t have much and some of the parents are just getting back to their feet, whether they were recovering from substance abuse, domestic abuse.”

Situations like the ones Gauvin described are growing more and more. Being the only chapter in Massachusetts hasn’t stopped the need for more beds, according to the Hubbards. If anything, over the years they have seen applications for beds increase.

“It is so rewarding to deliver beds and see the smiles on these children’s faces,” Gauvin said. “I just helped deliver three last week to Greenfield and hope to be able to do many more.”

For more information on Sleep in Heavenly Peace visit https://shpbeds.org/chapter/ma-athol-orange/. For donations via the organization’s Amazon wish list, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SHPAtholOrange?mibextid=ZbWKwL.