WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) — In a makeshift shop, you’ll find stacks of wood alongside piles of compassion.

“There’s always food drives and clothes drives, but it never dawned on us that there is actually a need for beds,” said Scott Wilde, owner of the local chapter of the nonprofit Sleep in Heavenly Peace.

Scott and Shawna Wilde heard about an Idaho couple who began building bunk beds for kids who spend their nights sleeping on the hard floor. Many of the kids live in poverty and their parents are too poor to buy mattresses and beds.

“Some of them never had a bed before and some never a pillow,” Shawna said.

That’s now the mission of the nonprofit, all volunteer group. It was created by Luke and Heidi Mickelson back in 2012 in Twin Falls, Idaho.

“It tugs on the heart string–makes you feel this is something we can do,” Scott said.

After watching a program about the group’s mission, Scott and Shawna started building bunk beds earlier this summer. The local Sleep in Heavenly Peace chapter they operate is on of 100 nationwide.

From a stack of lumber, donated by Schwieter’s Building Supply of Elk River, the simple bed frames are sawed, assembled and sanded. On Saturday, a host of volunteers will help the Wildes build 20 bunk beds for 40 kids in need.

Scott has his shop laid out to accommodate all levels of woodworking skill. Volunteers will use jigs to drill holes to assemble parts. Their work is sure to remain true to the group’s mission and motto.

“When kids jump into these beds, those parents have a hard time pulling them out because it’s really their first bed and they know it’s theirs,” Scott said. “It’s a great feeling.”

Since 2012, volunteers have built more than 1,330 bunk beds for children nationwide. Still, the bed frames are just one part of the effort. Donations are still needed for bedding, mattresses and pillows to complete the gifts.

All this work because living in poverty shouldn’t deprive any child of a comfortable night’s sleep.

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Bill Hudson