On June 12, the Dawsonville chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace will host its annual Bunks Across America community bed building event, sponsored by Lowe’s in Cumming.
According to chapter president Skip Sevier, the bed build event will be from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Cumming Lowe’s, 935 Marketplace Boulevard. Sevier said that his group brings their own generators and tents so that they are independent from the store’s power and so that participants will be shaded as much as possible.
The bed build events work like an assembly line, Sevier said, with volunteers taking care of specific tasks to make the event run smoothly.
“We have a system by which we take a pile of lumber at one end of what we call the ‘train’,” Sevier said. "The lumber is then cut down to size, passed down the train, sanded, marked, drilled and assembled to make headboards and footboards of top and bottom bunks.”
According to Sevier, the goal of the event is to provide as many beds as possible for local children without a place to sleep.
Sleep in Heavenly Peace Dawsonville serves all of Dawson and Lumpkin counties and part of Forsyth County, and Sevier said that they provide every family they serve with a handmade bed they can be proud to deliver.
“We start with the bare wood, do our sanding to make sure there’s no splinters and that the lumber is cleaned up, and then we brand the beds with the SHP branding iron and stain them with a stain that we make out of vinegar and steel wool,” Sevier said. “If you ever see a child who’s been sleeping on a pile of clothes on the floor see their first bed for the first time in their lives, you’ll just wanna do more.”
Anyone in the area can register to receive a bed for their child, Sevier said. In addition to the custom built bed and mattress, those who receive beds from the organization will also get pillows, linens and delivery and setup.
“If you live within our area and have a child between the ages of 3 and 17 who don’t have a bed — if we have beds and the teams to deliver them, you’ll get a bed,” Sevier said.
To apply for a bed, visit shpbeds.org and click on the link that says “request a bed”.
Since the upcoming June build will be the biggest one since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Sevier said that any and all volunteers are needed.
“Anybody of any age is welcome to join us; we do of course want children who come to be accompanied closely by a parent or guardian,” Sevier said. “It is just a party; there is such laughter and such camaraderie built around this.”
Currently, the group needs volunteers to help build the beds and deliver them to the families.
All volunteers will be asked to sign a waiver, which can either be done online ahead of time or at the event. To pre-register as a volunteer and fill out the waiver online ahead of time, go to https://www.facebook.com/shpdawsonville/ and follow the link.
Sevier said that volunteering to help with the building event is as much of a blessing for the volunteers as it is to the families receiving the beds. Without the help and support from the local community, he said that Sleep in Heavenly Peace would be unable to accomplish anywhere near as much as it does.
“It’s a tremendous team building exercise and we have been so beautifully supported by this community from day one; it’s just humbling, the outpouring of support that we have,” Sevier said. “[The bed build event] is noisy, it’s fun and it’s such a community build wherever we are blessed to set up.”