May 18, 2024

Sleep in Heavenly Peace Reaches 500th Bed

Volunteers from the Southern Maryland Association are proud to have been a part of team that got Sleep in Heavenly Peace to 500 beds built and delivered.

Volunteers from the Southern Maryland Association of Realtors assisted the St. Mary’s County branch of Sleep in Heavenly Peace with constructing its 500th children’s bed.

On July 23, almost 40 SMAR members joined several volunteers at Sleep in Heavenly Peace to help with the sanding, staining, and construction of bed frames that are set to be delivered to local children in the coming weeks.

“Knowing there is a space that is yours in this world, even if it’s only your bed, can bring you a sense of security and belonging,” said Melinda Brown, SMAR community relations committee member. “I was so happy to see our Realtor community put in a little elbow grease to help create space for these kids. … We work hard every day helping families secure their home, so this is an extension of what we all love doing.”

The St. Mary’s County chapter is one of more than 250 chapters in the US and Canada. Led by Gary and Debbie Faller, the shop is at 21797 North Coral Drive in Lexington Park. Along with volunteers, they build beds for children ages 3 to 17 who do not have a bed of their own in St. Mary’s County and southern Calvert County.

While national statistics suggest that as many as 2% to 3% of children sleep without the benefits of a bed, SHP believes that all children deserve a safe, comfortable place to lay their heads.

The group is grateful for the generosity of 84 corporate/nonprofit donors, 298 individual donors, and 704 volunteers in Southern Maryland who have made this dream a reality by assisting since the chapter’s inception in January 2020 by building 515 beds — 503 of which have been delivered to 242 families. This equates to $128,750 reinvested in the two counties.

“The Southern Maryland Association of Realtors members regularly donate their time, money, and energy to the communities in which they live and work,” SMAR 2021-2022 President Gregg Kantak said. “SMAR could not be more proud to assist SHP in achieving this milestone, and their members will undoubtedly be there for the 1,000th bed soon!”

Each twin bed is delivered with a new mattress and new twin bedding – including a pillow, pillowcase, twin sheets (flat and fitted), and blanket or comforter. Very little lumber goes to waste – all usable scrap wood is donated to Calvert Marine Museum for their children’s boat building project.

SHP’s goal is to not only provide beds to children in need but to bring awareness to child bedlessness in “our town” through their days of service, building, and delivering beds. The more awareness they can provide the community through their continued efforts and community partners, the more support they can gather to continue to fulfill their mission.

“I was very humbled by the stories of children not having beds to sleep in located right in this county,” said Kelly Raley, SMAR’s operations director and staff liaison to SMAR’s community relations committee. “It made volunteering that much more rewarding, to know that the little bit of time I spent would mean that a local child would eventually have an actual bed to sleep in. It was so worth the few hours that we spent there with friends and coworkers and it’s something that I’ll definitely do again!”

Amanda Callhoun and Melinda Brown construct a bed frame.

Tiffiony Keys dunks bed frame pieces into wood stain.

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