Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Karla Pomeroy
Editor 

Striving to give every child a bed

Worland couple begins SHP chapter to provide beds for children in the Big Horn Basin

 

June 14, 2018

Karla Pomeroy

Lew Markley and Guy Helms work on cutting the wood to make the Sleep in Heavenly Peace beds Saturday at Dan and Nancy Frederick's place in Worland. Volunteers at the right, Janet Benson, Nancy Frederick and Cheri Bundren work on sanding the wood to make sure all pieces for the bunk beds are smooth.

WORLAND - One man's dream to help children in his hometown of Kimberly, Idaho, has grown into a nationwide movement to make sure every child has a bed. That movement and that dream has come to Worland and the Big Horn Basin through the efforts of Worland couple Dan and Nancy Frederick.

Dan and Nancy Frederick are working to become an official Sleep in Heavenly Peace chapter of the non-profit organization. They have completed training and on Saturday they, along with 14 volunteers constructed five bunk beds that will provide beds for 10 children in the Big Horn Basin.

Sleep in Heavenly Peace, according to the website, shpbeds.org, "Sleep in Heavenly Peace had its start like many other charities, in Luke Mickelson's garage. It was Christmas time, a time of joy and happiness, a time of giving and love, but also a time of bitter, cold weather and snow storms. A project, that was started with the build of one bed for a single family developed into something a whole lot more. With wood left over from the first bunk, another idea was created. "Who else could benefit from this bunk"?

A simple post on Facebook sparked an unexpected response. What was thought would be a litter of requests from needy families, turned into a litany of local people eager to help and volunteer. The generosity of these volunteers was so surprising that it was no longer a search for one who needed a bed, but a question of how many beds we could provide. From there, the idea grew into reality. We can make a difference."

Sleep in Heavenly Peace has 69 active and announced chapters in 29 states. There are two announced chapters in Wyoming, one in Rock Springs and one in Worland.

Sleep in Heavenly Peace began and is headquartered in Kimberly, Idaho. It is the only charity providing hand-made bunk beds to children who do not have beds of their own, according to the SHP brochure.

The official motto of SHP came from a volunteer in its early years - "No kid sleeps on the floor in our town."

FREDERICKS

Dan Frederick found out about SHP by watching a Facebook episode of Mike Rowe's "Returning the Favor" in which SHP and the work they are doing for children was featured.

Dan's first thought - "There can't be a need around here; not in this day and age. But it bothered me. I thought 'could that be."

Nancy Frederick said when Dan sees an episode of Returning the Favor or another online show that really has an impact he shows it to his wife and that was the case for Sleep In Heavenly Peace.

Dan Frederick said as the thought of children in the area not sleeping in a bed continued to bother him, and Nancy they began talking to people in the community to see if there was a need.

"We found out there is a big need for that, for all sorts of situations. Once I found out there was a need, I just said well we can do something about this. This is something we can change," Dan Frederick said.

Nancy Frederick said, "I taught school for 30 years and I saw sometimes the effect of kids not having food or sleep that they need to perform in school. There are a lot of programs for food out there. This is the only one for sleep. So for me it was, 'Ya, here's something we can do to help that problem.'"

She added, "I still love working with kids and this is just a different way to do it."

Frederick said following the Mike Rowe Returning the Favor show, the number of chapters has grown. He said there were 55 new chapter presidents being trained at the same time as he and Nancy were trained last month.

TRAINING

Frederick said each chapter is getting organized at their own pace. "It's an all-volunteer group that does this. They have full-time jobs plus do this training. I was just on the phone [Monday morning] with the founder, Luke Mickelson, this morning and he was basically spending all day on SHP. Mickelson had a full-time job that he left in order to start SHP. The Fredericks said he now has a part-time job in sales in order to support him and his family, while still growing the non-profit Sleep in Heavenly Peace.

"They told us, 'we're going to open up the fire hose and give you information and we hope you catch some of it,'" Dan Frederick said.

Nancy added, "That's exactly what happened."

Dan Frederick said the training involved three steps:

•Financial. Each chapter needs to find donations, supplies and ways to fund construction of each bed. Each bunk bed costs about $300 to build. There's also storage for tools and bedding and the beds once constructed while awaiting delivery.

"They really trained us on the financial aspect," Dan Frederick said. As a non-profit organizations they don't want to have anyone question where the money goes or what it is used for. "They want to make sure everything is accounted for," Frederick said.

•Building the beds. Dan Frederick said that was a big part of the training was learning what the design was and the different stations involved in constructing a bed.

"We were trained in the construction and the organization. This was a lot more difficult than we thought as it involves roughly 15 volunteers operating power tools and building beds that children would be using. They stressed that we were responsible for the training and safety of all involved," he said.

On Saturday, the Fredericks hosted the bed building party at their home at 1064 Lane 10 in Worland. They has 12 volunteers who manned different stations from cutting the wood, sanding the wood (to ensure the children don't get splinters), drilling the holes for the screws, constructing the head and base boards, treating the wood in a vinegar bath, branding the head and base boards and then, of course, final construction of the bunk beds.

•Delivery of the beds. "The third section was the delivery of the beds. We were able to go out and deliver beds. This was quite an experience. Our delivery was to a grandmother who was living comfortably in low-income housing. Through circumstances that we were not given, she had just been joined by four of her grandchildren. There was a small bedroom available but no beds. She was overjoyed with the gift of the beds for her grandkids. The kids enjoyed helping us put the beds together and were very thankful. It made us think about how this same sort of thing could be happening in the Big Horn Basin and soon we will be able to help out," Frederick said.

As for delivery of the five bunk beds that were constructed in Worland on Saturday, the Fredericks said they know there are families that need them and want them but as a new chapter all of the paperwork is not complete.

Once completed, the Worland chapter will be on the official site for people to sign up for beds at the shpbeds.org website under the "request a bed" tab. There is an online form for people to fill out.

"Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we'll be ready to deliver the beds," Dan said. Nancy said they have some bedding, but not enough for all the beds they have constructed so far.

However, she said, when it comes time to deliver the beds "We'll come up with the bedding."

The Fredericks, in the short time that they have gotten organized have also received generous donations of supplies from several area businesses and a church, as well as individuals, including one anonymous donation to fully fund construction of one bed.

Dan said they are storing the tools and materials in his shop, the beds in his garage and mattresses and bedding are being stored at another location.

The Fredericks said they are planning about bed build in July and this time they would like to, if funding and supplies allow, to build 10.

VOLUNTEERS

"We had so many sanders going Saturday and it still wasn't enough," they said, adding that anyone who wants to help provide a bed for a child in the Big Horn Basin can volunteer, you don't need woodworking skills.

On Saturday, helping the Fredericks and the Worland SHP Chapter were Lanis and Janet Benson, Gary and Laurie Sutherland, Mike and Cheri Bundren, Lew Markley, Guy and Kathy Helms, James Donahue, Josh Berdahl, Chuck Glade and Willie Wright.

"I was overwhelmed by the response both from the board of directors and the people in the area that have found out about it and have helped out. I didn't know if other people would see it the same way that we did," Dan Frederick said.

Kathy Helms said she came Saturday because Dan asked for help but more importantly because she didn't realize that there were children in the Big Horn Basin without beds. "This will be a good thing," she said.

Her husband Guy said he didn't realize the need until talking to Dan about the program. "Kids need beds."

James Donahue said, "I have young kids. I know the need is great. I think what if my kids were in that situation and it makes me want to help."

Mike Bundren said, "I think it's neat. It's a great program. There are lots of little kids that need help."

Landis Benson said, "When I was introduced to it, it touched my heart. It was a need I had no idea was out there."

He said he was like Dan initially and started asking around about how big of a need there was.

"I started to talking to guys and they told me they would see houses with blankets on the floor [for kids to sleep on]. I said I got to do this."

Josh Berdahl, who works with the Wyoming Department of Family Services, said there is definitely a need in the community. He said he knows of children sleeping on couches or the floor because they don't have beds.

He said there are a number of different reasons a child may not have a bed. "A parent can get in a tough spot and just need that extra boost.

"Anytime you can make a big different in a kid's life it's a positive thing. It filters into a lot of aspects of their if they get a good night's rest," Berdahl said. "Anytime you do something for a kid you hope it gives them a boost to go forward.

Lew Markley said he volunteered Saturday "because I love the community spirit and people helping out. There's a real need in the community ... and the world for that matter."

Dan Frederick believes that, although SHP started six years ago this is just the beginning for the organization and the Big Horn Basin Chapter.

"I think it's somethings that's going to spread like wildfire," he said.

Anyone with questions or wanting to volunteer or donate may contact Dan Frederick at 388-4049 or via email at danf@rtconnect.net

 
 

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