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Volunteers build 100 beds for kids sleeping on the floor

Published: Sep. 26, 2020 at 6:55 PM EDT
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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A local nonprofit has accepted a nationwide challenge to build as many beds as possible to help end “bedlessness” in America.

Sleep in Heavenly Peace estimates 3% of American children have no bed. As part of the Bunks Across America challenge, Sleep in Heavenly Peace of Chittenden County hosted a mega bed build on Saturday to see if they could meet their goal of building 100 beds.

Volunteers worked in two shifts and by the end of the morning shift, they had reached their goal.

“We were a lot faster than we were expecting," volunteer Laura Jenkins said. "We got our 100 beds done. I think we were done by 10:30.”

In just two hours, they built 70 more beds than they would on a typical day.

“It’s like making a batch of brownies. Someone tells you to make a batch of brownies and then they’ll say, ‘Ok I want you to triple that recipe,’” said Director Robert Brosseau. "And that’s kind of like what we had to do. We’re accustomed to building 30 beds but now we’ve got to build 100 so OK we need more stuff.”

From sanding to drilling and nailing, everyone had their own role.

Jerry Parot was in charge of watching over the fire pit and branding the SHP logo onto the headboards of the beds.

“I’m the resident fireman. What I do is I tend to the fire," he said. "We have branding irons with the SHP logo. When the beds come through when they’re finished, I’ll stencil the SHP logo onto them. Burn it onto them.”

Volunteers say they can’t wait for the next part: delivering the beds.

“I have shivers just thinking about it,” said Marie Jean McCaffery.

“It’s probably one of the most personable things I’ve done for anybody and it just makes me feel really good," Michael Barrett said.

“It’s just such a good feeling inside. And to see them happy is just such a joy," said Guy LaPlume.

Many of Saturday’s volunteers have helped out at several of Sleep in Heavenly Peace’s previous builds and say they plan to continue contributing to the cause.

“I love supporting the community and I love being a part of something that benefits and helps people in this way," said Jerry Wood.

Brosseau says the 100 beds made on Saturday will be delivered within the next 30 days to kids in Chittenden and Franklin counties.

The next bed build will be held during the third weekend in October.

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