STRUTHERS, Ohio (WYTV) – Nearly half of the Valley’s children live in poverty, many of which do not have a bed of their own. But, this week’s Hometown Heroes are working to change that.
“No kid sleeps on the floor in our town.”
That is the mission statement of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a local charity that started 18 months ago. It’s dedicated to building beds for children of needy families.
Co-presidents Travis Leonard and Jeff Watkins were surprised to find out how much their charity could help.
“There’s just such a huge need in the community for simple things like a bed, and when we found out that there was such a need and we found out about this organization, we knew we had to help and we had to do something,” Leonard said.
We followed Watkins and Leonard to a home in Struthers, to a family receiving a bed for their 4-year-old son, Mason.
The charity built the bed in his room in minutes and just like that, young Mason had his first-ever big boy bed.
It’s a gesture that his family couldn’t be more thankful for.
“I think what they’re doing is wonderful. You don’t get very many people who help and not ask for anything in return, so it’s very nice that there’s people out there that’s willing to do what they do,” said Shelby Hippo, Mason’s mom.
People across the Valley donate their time and skills to make blankets and bedding, something the charity heavily relies on.
Watkins is grateful for the community’s involvement and knows it means a lot to the kids.
“When we walk in and give them a blanket that was made by hand with somebody’s time, love and effort, it draws on your heartstrings. The kid feels that it’s more special — it was handmade for them. So it means a lot to us because without them we couldn’t do what we do,” Watkins said.
But, building beds is only half of the charity’s mission.
“One of our biggest goals is not only to get kids off the floor but to also bring the community together to support each other because that’s why we’re all here. We’re supposed to help each other out,” Watkins said.
Valley families, like the Hippos, are thankful that Sleep in Heavenly Peace is giving their children the gift of a good night’s sleep.
Currently, Sleep in Heavenly Peace is also in need of volunteers to deliver beds and is looking for a larger and permanent space.
To find out how you can help, head over to www.SHPBeds.org.