'Labor of love': Volunteers build bunk beds for needy kids
A group of volunteers were at D'Onofrio Park in New Rochelle Saturday to build 40 bunk beds for those in need across Westchester County.
In 2012, Luke Mickelson, of Idaho, saw a need for change in his community, so he picked up a saw and built a bunkbed for kids who were sleeping on the floor in his neighborhood.
"We got wood together, we kind of borrowed a plan from our daughter's bunk bed downstairs, and we went out and built it and come to find out, it was a lot of fun," Mickelson says, who also founded Sleep in Heavenly Peace.
Nine years later, Mickelson has grown what started out as a good deed, into an international charity organization. Sleep in Heavenly Peace builds and distributes bunk beds from scratch for kids who are bedless, which he says is a bigger issue than people realize.
"When we talk about child bedlessness, people don't really know it's really — it's a big problem and it's right next door," Mickelson says.
Sleep in Heavenly Peace now serves four countries and has 250 chapters across the nation, one of which is in Westchester County.
"The idea that we're able to come in and help improve situations for people, is massive. We see it, we feel it when we're able to be in their homes and give a bed to these kids," says Matt Ambrogi, president of Sleep in Heavenly Peace Rye Chapter.
Volunteers of all ages and experience levels were on deck doing their part to make a difference and put a smile on the faces of kids who need it most.
"There's nothing better than doing this, thinking about families who can benefit from the labor of love that we do here, really makes it all worth it," said Matthew Fasciano, member of the Sleeo in Heavenly Peace Rye Chapter.
Mickelson said that last year was a slow one due to to the pandemic, but the organization still managed to build and deliver over 20,000 beds across the country.
This year, he hopes to double that number and live up to the charity's slogan, "No kid sleeps on the floor in my neighborhood."