The Flossmoor Public Works garage is buzzing with activity on Saturday, Jan. 11, for a Sleep in Heavenly Peace bed build, among the village’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service activities. (Bill Jones/H-F Chronicle)
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Volunteers in Flossmoor help Sleep in Heavenly Peace build 38 beds for children in need

The Flossmoor Public Works garage was buzzing — literally and figuratively — last weekend as a hive of volunteers worked together to push well beyond the expected output of the village’s second annual bed build. 

With sanders humming, saws spinning and drills punching holes into wood, volunteers worked on various pieces of what would become 38 beds under the direction of Sleep in Heavenly Peace’s Oak Forest Chapter. With the village hitting capacity for volunteers at more than 70, Chapter President Dave King announced that the group would exceed the originally intended 20 twin beds.

“Thirty-eight kids will soon have a warm bed of their very own,” King said. “The volunteers all worked hard, and together we can continue to make a difference.”

The early 2023 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service collaboration with the Oak Forest Chapter returned on Saturday, Jan. 14, for the follow-up to the inaugural 2022 build. Sleep in Heavenly Peace donates the beds to children in need and operates under the motto of “No kid sleeps on the floor in our town.”

  • The Flossmoor Public Works garage is buzzing with activity on Saturday, Jan. 11, for a Sleep in Heavenly Peace bed build, among the village’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service activities. (Bill Jones/H-F Chronicle)
    The Flossmoor Public Works garage is buzzing with activity on Saturday, Jan. 11, for a Sleep in Heavenly Peace bed build, among the village’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service activities. (Bill Jones/H-F Chronicle)

King said that mission is not possible without community organizations and businesses donating their time and spreading the word. And he said SHP’s partnership with Flossmoor last year for an MLK Day build worked out well.

“The community seemed to have a great desire to help and make a difference,” he said.

King added it is great timing to keep momentum going early in the year. The holidays typically give a boost to charities, but after the holidays people are often focused on paying off the credit card bills and restructuring budgets.

“The need never stops,” King said. “We can’t build them fast enough. … For us to be able to continue our mission means we continue to deliver beds to children in need.”

The bed build was one of several options offered by the Village of Flossmoor for this year’s Day of Service, imploring people to make it “a day on, not a day off” to better local communities through volunteer projects. 

There was also a PLAN4Success socks and treats collection, South Suburban Humane Society wish list collection, South Suburban Chapter of The Links hygiene and winter wear drive for PADS, You Matter 2 sandwich making for South Suburban PADS and tie blankets for Project Kennedy, Chi Lambda Lambda community blood drive, and neighborhood cleanup at Flossmoor Hills Elementary School over the course of the holiday weekend.

“Seeing neighbors come together to honor and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s challenges and triumphs creates a feeling of optimism and determination within the community,” Mayor Michelle Nelson said. “We will continue to grow and thrive together by using our talents to assist each other throughout the year.”

Volunteer Kevin Gallagher, of Flossmoor, said he has some experience with building. He helped rebuild homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. And he saw SHP as a great way to help locally.

“We wanted to do something for Martin Luther King Day,” Gallagher said. “We were looking for a project and this popped up. We jumped at the chance.”

Many, such as Jodie Lawrence, of Flossmoor, joined SHP for the first time in the Flossmoor Public Works garage.

“It seems like a really important mission to help others,” Lawrence said. “It seems like a wonderful thing to do for the community and a lot of fun.” 

Ronisha Dubose, of Park Forest, and her 16-year-old son, Franklin, found the opportunity through Faith United Protestant Church. She said they were presented with a list of volunteer opportunities, and SHP stood out.

“It’s really cool to make beds for kids who need beds,” Dubose said. “So I woke him up this morning and said, ‘Hey, let’s go make some beds.’”

Keith Hale, a police officer with Cook County, said he was “humbled” by his first time helping out with SHP.

“The need for children to have beds is more extensive than we could ever imagine,” Hale said. “I always want to be part of helping people out, helping children out, and just being part of the puzzle to assist others to get the resources they need.”

Dawn Joyce, of Oak Forest, noted she first volunteered for Sleep in Heavenly Peace in Michigan.

“When I came back home, I came home to see if there was a chapter,” Joyce said. “I didn’t realize there was one in Oak Forest. I’m always looking out for really practical ways to serve the community. I think this is a great opportunity to do that.”

In addition to individuals and families, local groups also rallied around the event. Among them was F3 Southsid3, a southwest suburban men’s fitness group that operates under the three Fs of “Fitness, Fellowship and Faith.” Eight members of the local chapter came out to help.

“It’s a nonreligious group, but we believe in something higher than ourselves,” Robert Babcock explained. “We look for opportunities in the communities to help out wherever we can.”

The Flossmoor Volunteer Fire Department Corporation covered the cost of materials. And the Flossmoor Community Relations Commission coordinated the build as well as other MLK Day activities.

“This project is one that the entire village can embrace,” said Jackie Riffice, vice chairperson of the commission. “We consider it the hallmark project for the Community Relations Commission.”

King noted that as much as SHP relies on events such as the one in Flossmoor, the organization also has a core group of volunteers.

“These are the volunteers that take their time to help plan the events, organize the fundraiser, purchase all the materials, then teach all the community volunteers how to work a particular station throughout our bed build assembly line,” King said. “It definitely wouldn’t be possible without our core crew for SHP.”

Mike O’Malley, who serves as a build manager for SHP, is one of those volunteers who helps get everything set up and going. He also gave a short speech to get everyone ready at the start of the event. It’s a job he loves to do.

“We’re just trying to get all the kids off the floor that we can,” O’Malley said. “It’s a really good organization. It’s a lot of fun. You meet a lot of people and have a good time.”

For more information about Sleep Heavenly Peace, visit SHPBeds.org or SHP Oak Forest on Facebook

Volunteers in Flossmoor help Sleep in Heavenly Peace build 38 beds for children in need

Bill Jones

The Flossmoor Public Works garage was buzzing — literally and figuratively — last weekend as a hive of volunteers worked together to push well beyond the expected output of the village’s second annual bed build. 

With sanders humming, saws spinning and drills punching holes into wood, volunteers worked on various pieces of what would become 38 beds under the direction of Sleep in Heavenly Peace’s Oak Forest Chapter. With the village hitting capacity for volunteers at more than 70, Chapter President Dave King announced that the group would exceed the originally intended 20 twin beds.

“Thirty-eight kids will soon have a warm bed of their very own,” King said. “The volunteers all worked hard, and together we can continue to make a difference.”

The early 2023 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service collaboration with the Oak Forest Chapter returned on Saturday, Jan. 14, for the follow-up to the inaugural 2022 build. Sleep in Heavenly Peace donates the beds to children in need and operates under the motto of “No kid sleeps on the floor in our town.”

King said that mission is not possible without community organizations and businesses donating their time and spreading the word. And he said SHP’s partnership with Flossmoor last year for an MLK Day build worked out well.

“The community seemed to have a great desire to help and make a difference,” he said.

King added it is great timing to keep momentum going early in the year. The holidays typically give a boost to charities, but after the holidays people are often focused on paying off the credit card bills and restructuring budgets.

“The need never stops,” King said. “We can’t build them fast enough. … For us to be able to continue our mission means we continue to deliver beds to children in need.”

The bed build was one of several options offered by the Village of Flossmoor for this year’s Day of Service, imploring people to make it “a day on, not a day off” to better local communities through volunteer projects. 

There was also a PLAN4Success socks and treats collection, South Suburban Humane Society wish list collection, South Suburban Chapter of The Links hygiene and winter wear drive for PADS, You Matter 2 sandwich making for South Suburban PADS and tie blankets for Project Kennedy, Chi Lambda Lambda community blood drive, and neighborhood cleanup at Flossmoor Hills Elementary School over the course of the holiday weekend.

“Seeing neighbors come together to honor and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s challenges and triumphs creates a feeling of optimism and determination within the community,” Mayor Michelle Nelson said. “We will continue to grow and thrive together by using our talents to assist each other throughout the year.”

Volunteer Kevin Gallagher, of Flossmoor, said he has some experience with building. He helped rebuild homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. And he saw SHP as a great way to help locally.

“We wanted to do something for Martin Luther King Day,” Gallagher said. “We were looking for a project and this popped up. We jumped at the chance.”

Many, such as Jodie Lawrence, of Flossmoor, joined SHP for the first time in the Flossmoor Public Works garage.

“It seems like a really important mission to help others,” Lawrence said. “It seems like a wonderful thing to do for the community and a lot of fun.” 

Ronisha Dubose, of Park Forest, and her 16-year-old son, Franklin, found the opportunity through Faith United Protestant Church. She said they were presented with a list of volunteer opportunities, and SHP stood out.

“It’s really cool to make beds for kids who need beds,” Dubose said. “So I woke him up this morning and said, ‘Hey, let’s go make some beds.’”

Keith Hale, a police officer with Cook County, said he was “humbled” by his first time helping out with SHP.

“The need for children to have beds is more extensive than we could ever imagine,” Hale said. “I always want to be part of helping people out, helping children out, and just being part of the puzzle to assist others to get the resources they need.”

Dawn Joyce, of Oak Forest, noted she first volunteered for Sleep in Heavenly Peace in Michigan.

“When I came back home, I came home to see if there was a chapter,” Joyce said. “I didn’t realize there was one in Oak Forest. I’m always looking out for really practical ways to serve the community. I think this is a great opportunity to do that.”

In addition to individuals and families, local groups also rallied around the event. Among them was F3 Southsid3, a southwest suburban men’s fitness group that operates under the three Fs of “Fitness, Fellowship and Faith.” Eight members of the local chapter came out to help.

“It’s a nonreligious group, but we believe in something higher than ourselves,” Robert Babcock explained. “We look for opportunities in the communities to help out wherever we can.”

The Flossmoor Volunteer Fire Department Corporation covered the cost of materials. And the Flossmoor Community Relations Commission coordinated the build as well as other MLK Day activities.

“This project is one that the entire village can embrace,” said Jackie Riffice, vice chairperson of the commission. “We consider it the hallmark project for the Community Relations Commission.”

King noted that as much as SHP relies on events such as the one in Flossmoor, the organization also has a core group of volunteers.

“These are the volunteers that take their time to help plan the events, organize the fundraiser, purchase all the materials, then teach all the community volunteers how to work a particular station throughout our bed build assembly line,” King said. “It definitely wouldn’t be possible without our core crew for SHP.”

Mike O’Malley, who serves as a build manager for SHP, is one of those volunteers who helps get everything set up and going. He also gave a short speech to get everyone ready at the start of the event. It’s a job he loves to do.

“We’re just trying to get all the kids off the floor that we can,” O’Malley said. “It’s a really good organization. It’s a lot of fun. You meet a lot of people and have a good time.”

For more information about Sleep Heavenly Peace, visit SHPBeds.org or SHP Oak Forest on Facebook

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