Every town or city has a different feel. They’re all a little bit different, and yet similar, in so many ways.
What makes Vernon unique for me is the ‘connectedness’ that is evident in so many aspects of the community.
I want to explain what I’ve learned about Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP), a newly formed organization in Vernon, as recently as Saturday, Dec. 11, at Staples.
At 9 a.m., my wife and I drove into the parking lot looking for the Collis family of Bud and Betty of Christmas Tree Farm in Lumby. As I recognized them, I also noticed two newer familiar faces, Leo Campeau and Hugh MacKay.
Both of these gentlemen are a part of SHP. Their mission, and in fact, the mission of SHP is to ensure that “no kids sleep on the floor in our town.”
SHP has its beginnings in Twin Falls, Idaho, where a community project involved making bunk beds for families. In 2012, 11 beds were constructed by a church group and later more beds were built by a single family.
When beds were advertised, people supported the organization with donations of mattresses, sheets, afghans, and pillows.
The organization grew, and chapters increased throughout the U.S. and now, it has made its way to Canada. British Columbia’s very first chapter is in Vernon, and the story is pretty much the same.
A group of men belonging to a group called Men’s Shed heard about SHP. They were able to put their woodworking skills to use following guidelines supplied by SHP to build beds for youngsters who might normally sleep on the floor.
Two of these gentlemen were at Staples Saturday morning, assembling and setting up a bunk bed.
I first found out about SHP from our friends Bud and Betty. Over the years the Christmas Tree Ranch has frequently stepped up to the plate and run a raffle for a charitable organization.
At Staples on Saturday they were able to present a donation of $910 to Sleep in Heavenly Peace.
In addition to collecting money at Christmas Tree Ranch, they worked with a small crew outside Fisher’s Hardware recently, and collected donations to add to their total. Weather permitting they will be back with the Christmas Tree Ranch official Piper on Thursday, Dec. 16, from 1-3 p.m. Also, weather permitting, you can look for a Bunk Bed Donation display to be set up within the next week at RONA. In the interim please go to the SHP Vernon Facebook page and find out how to donate, and receive an income tax receipt.
Items sought to complete the bed projects include new, twin sized bed sheets, comforters, quilts, afghans, pillows and pillow cases.
SLEEP IN HEAVENLY PEACE VERNON
The chapter is one of only five in Canada and the only one in B.C. It started in August and there are currently six members – five men, one woman – including publicity director Leo Campeau.
“The reception to our group has been magnificent,” said Campeau at Staples where there is a Fill The Bunk display which shows the bunk beds made by the chapter with the hope that the community will donate new bedding accessories. Fill The Bunk is on at Staples until the new year, and there will be one at RONA on select weekends through the holiday season.
So far, the group has made 30 beds with 10 mattresses bought by the chapter and 10 donated by Mattress Mattress in Kelowna.
SHP uses the shop at W.L. Seaton to build the beds with help from the school’s shop students. “They’ve been fantastic to us and fantastic to work with,” said Campeau.
Campeau said there are about 260 people in the North Okanagan from Enderby to Lumby sleeping on floors or without a bed. If you’d like to donate time, money, build materials, new twin bedding, new twin mattresses or new pillows, phone 1-844-432-2337 ext. 6104 or visit shpbeds.ca.