Building more peaceful dreams
MEDFORD — Two dozen volunteers took advantage of some long-awaited sunshine Saturday behind the Voorhies mansion at Edenvale Winery to help build a brighter reality for at least 30 local children.
The volunteers, members of a newly formed chapter of a group called Sleep in Heavenly Peace, built 30 twin-size beds for children without beds of their own.
The nonprofit (shpbeds.org), which has 140 chapters around the U.S., builds wooden bed frames and rounds up donations of mattresses and bedding to help children ages 3 and older who would otherwise end up sleeping on the floor.
Volunteer efforts for a Sleep in Heavenly Peace chapter in Josephine County helped spur the Jackson County group. Medford resident Laurie Parrish, who founded the local chapter with son-in-law Nate Fettig, said she was surprised to learn that so many local children were without basic bedding.
When she learned about Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Parrish jumped on a plane one week later to attend a training at the nonprofit’s Idaho headquarters. Parrish said she and volunteers built six beds during a kickoff last month, and Saturday was the first official work day.
Volunteers, Parrish said, have heard countless stories of households in which children sleep on piles of blankets or on furniture.
“Statistics show that, nationally, 2 to 3 percent of our population of children are sleeping on the floor. That’s unacceptable, so we want to do what we can to help,” Parrish said.
“Just 1 percent in Josephine County includes 800 kids who need beds. We delivered beds to one family where the grandma was sleeping on the couch, and then she gave up the couch and was sleeping in a chair so the kids could have the couch. It just broke my heart.”
After four-plus hours of cutting, sawing and hammering Saturday morning, Medford resident Kelly Martin helped load new bed frames onto a pickup truck with fellow volunteer Chesley Parker.
“We did our team build and our first delivery three weeks ago, and it was pretty exciting. The kids were super excited, so that made it all worthwhile. It’s very unfortunate to think of kids having to sleep on the hard floor. There are a lot of underprivileged people in the region, so this is a way we can help make a difference,” Martin said.
Kristin Fettig, Parrish’s daughter, said the group could use more volunteers, as well as donations of bedding, mattresses and lumber to keep the effort going.
“We can accept donations of the items or money to buy the items. We only provide brand new — these kids deserve that,” Fettig said.
“We recently provided three beds to a single dad who had faced some really hard times for the last few months. He was finally able to get into this really cute, nice house but couldn’t afford anything to go inside the house. These are the kinds of families we’re helping provide beds for.”
Saturday’s build was sponsored by Evergreen Bank, Parrish’s employer, along with Hughes Lumber and Boise Cascade.
Parrish said she hoped to recruit enough volunteers to build at least 100 beds this year.
“And we built 30 today, so I think we’ll surpass that goal pretty easily.”
To donate or volunteer, see www.facebook.com/SHPJacksonCo/.
Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at email@example.com.