February 11, 2020
Security Health Plan invests in Spencer non-profit that provides beds for children without
“All Children deserve a safe, comfortable place to lay their heads,” Marshfield Clinic Health System registered respiratory therapist Joleen Schade said. “Adequate sleep is important for the health and well-being of all children. It allows them to grow properly, do well in school and gives them a sense of pride and ownership by having their own bed.”
Schade believes this to be true, so when she learned about an organization that makes and donates beds to children that don’t have one, she jumped on board and started a Spencer area chapter of the non-profit organization Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP). Schade learned of the non-profit organization while recovering from a foot injury.
“I was laid up and scrolling Facebook,” she said with a laugh. “I saw this group from my home county, Trempealeau, that needed quilts. So I investigated the charity and stumbled upon an episode of Mike Rowe’s ‘Returning the Favor’ about this group that was making and delivering beds to children without. I couldn’t get it out of my mind that kids needed beds.”
Last July Schade jumped in and started the Spencer Area Chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace with her daughter, Alyssa, and their church, The Spencer United Methodist Church. She said members of her church formed a team to get a Spencer chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace started. The group raised funds for the tools and lumber needed for their first build and sponsored a trip, sending Alyssa and Joleen Schade to Idaho for training. After the training workshop, the two took what they learned back to Spencer and kicked off their new charity last August. She said since the Spencer chapter’s inception she has been amazed at not only the outpouring of support, but the true need for this organization in the Spencer area.
Security Health Plan of Wisconsin, Inc., will invest $1,000 in Sleep in Heavenly Peace – Spencer Area Chapter as part of its Employee-Driven Corporate Giving grant program. Each month Security Health Plan awards a $1,000 grant to a different charity or organization that is nominated by a Marshfield Clinic Health System employee. Employees are encouraged to nominate organizations making a positive difference in the community.
“Volunteering with SHP has enriched my life and the lives of all those that have volunteered alongside me,” Schade said. “And every time we deliver a bed we are enriching the lives of the children receiving those beds. When you see the joy on the child’s face when they get that bed – and the look of relief on the parent’s face – it changes you.”
Schade said her chapter serves 20 different communities within a 25-mile radius around Spencer. She said they have built 61 beds since August and have had over 150 volunteers involved in building and delivering the beds. She said each bed costs $175 to build. SHP will build the beds, deliver them to the recipient and fully set up the bed, complete with sheets, comforter or quilt and pillow. The beds are designed in a way so they can be set up as bunkbeds, and when a bunkbed is requested the volunteers will install safety rails on the top bunk when installing the beds.
“In such a short amount of time I have personally been impacted by SHP,” Schade said. “The first step was to overcome the fact that this is a need in our community. Then when we are building the beds, I see all the different volunteers that show up to help and am astounded. In addition, when we deliver the beds I am always impacted – it is amazing to see some of the homes and the conditions in which these children are being brought up. I know how this has impacted me, but I don’t think I will ever know the full extent of the impact these beds will make on the children.”
She said she thinks back to her own childhood and what her bed meant to her.
“When you’re sick you want the comfort of your bed,” she said. “I remember lying in my bed and imagining where my life would take me, what I would do and how my future would unfold. Some of these kids don’t have a bed to lie in and dream. Just by providing these kids a bed we are helping to make them an equal amongst their peers.”
Schade said she’s felt fully supported in this venture as she’s obtained donations from several area business for storage, bedding and tools to build the beds; the local lumber company has offered them discounts on the lumber; and B & D Fabricators in Unity has provided SHP with an indoor space to build the beds.
“I am so thankful for this grant from Security Health Plan, it means we’ll be able to get more children in to beds. This grant is enough to purchase lumber for 20 more beds,” she said. “We are just so blessed to have the support from so many people and area businesses.”
And more beds are needed. Of the 61 beds the group has built, 58 have been delivered and requests keep coming in. She said the group’s initial goal last fall was to build 30 beds.
“We thought that would last all winter,” Schade said. “Then I received 22 requests in one week. Right now we have a short waiting list for beds, but we will be building more in March.”
She said they welcome anyone interested in volunteering – no construction skills necessary. Seeing the demand for the beds, the group has upped their goal for 2020 and are aiming to build 200 beds this year.
To get involved, make a donation or learn more about Sleep in Heavenly Peace visit their website at www.shpbeds.org/chapter/wi-spencer-area or check them out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SHPSpencer/. You can also contact Schade for more information via email at Joleen.Schade@shpbeds.org.
If you or someone you know needs a bed for a child in their life visit the Sleep in Heavenly Peace website and click on the “Request a Bed” button.