DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — The volunteers arrived before sunrise, nearly 200 of them, ready to build beds for kids in need.
By 12:30 p.m., the Lansing chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace had built nearly 45 twin-sized beds with the help of the Western Wayne County chapter.
The overall goal for the day was 160 beds, 120 for children in Lansing and another 40 headed to Detroit.
President of the Lansing chapter Jarrod Olsen said the bed-building process typically starts slow but then begins to ramp up.
"An hour ago I think we only had like five beds done, and we're cooking probably about 45 to 50 beds an hour right now," Olsen said, adding that he and his team will be there until all of the beds are made, into the evening if need be.
All of the beds were slated for delivery on Sunday along with mattresses, sheets, pillows and comforters. The nonprofit has broken its own record for the number of volunteers building at an event and was on pace to break its record for beds built in a day.
"This is more beds than we built in the entire year of 2019 and 2020 together. In one build, we're knocking out our record, and our goal for this year, going into this year, was 150. We delivered 28 prior to today, and 120 today, we have to up our goal at this point. It's only March and we got several more builds planned for the rest of the year," Olsen said with a smile.
Sherri Hines, the volunteer coordinator for the Lansing chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, said they had marked nearly 180 volunteers for this build, the most of volunteers at a build having previously been 70. Hines was a volunteer herself last September, but decided she wanted to be more involved and joined the team.
"We're always in search of people who are interested. You don't have to be handy or crafty, or anything, you just have to come and learn. We're always looking for sponsors for people who want to do a build maybe for their organization...and, we're always looking for people who need to get in their application to obtain a bed, also, because these are 100 percent free of charge to the recipient," Hines said.
"Huge thanks to our sponsors, all of our volunteers...without it we wouldn't be able to do this. I mean this is thousands and thousands of dollars that folks have donated themselves, come and help build, Lowe's has donated us lumber and tools, there are several other ones that pitched in. But, we wouldn't be putting 120 kids in beds tonight without them," Olsen said.
Hines said they are looking for another 160 volunteers for their next build, which will be the Bunks Across America build on June 12. It will take place at a Lowe's, but Olsen says, "the west side Lowe's and the south side Lowe's are fighting over who's going to take" them this year. He is not yet entirely sure how many they will build at the next event.
"We were just awarded another grant from Lowe's, so we'll probably double what we normally do. So instead of 40, we'll probably do 80, but who knows. We might -- that's what we planned this one for, we were going to do 40, and we ended up with a 120, so, who knows," Olsen laughed.
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