Sleep in Heavenly Peace in Portage hopes 150 volunteers will make 100 bunk beds for children in a single day.
They might also make history.
“There’s technically nothing like this on the record books yet,” said Brian Scheibach, president of the nonprofit group’s Portage chapter. “So we’d help to set the record.”
Nationally, Sleep in Heavenly Peace is asking volunteers to build 2,500 or more bunk beds across more than 100 U.S. chapters June 15.
Its founder, Luke Mickelson of Idaho, is working out the details with the Guinness Book of World Records for the one-day event it calls “Bunks Across America,” Scheibach said.
“We’re taking a big swing in Portage because we have over 185 kids on our waiting list right now,” Scheibach said. “We just got four more requests (Tuesday) and even if we make 100 beds, we’ll still need more of them.”
The Portage chapter has so far built about 160 beds and delivered 140 since it formed a year ago, group member Sara Shaver estimated. June 15 will be the local chapter’s seventh “build day” after it made about 20 beds at its most recent event Saturday.
“When we heard about the national build day, we were very eager to say we would do it,” Shaver said. “And honestly, 100 beds is a lot. The most we’ve ever done in one day is 40 beds and that took a lot of volunteers.”
The Portage chapter delivers beds to families in Columbia, Marquette, Adams, Sauk, Green Lake and Dodge counties. Requests might come from the families themselves or from anyone in a child’s life, including relatives, friends, teachers or doctors, Shaver said.
Volunteers are encouraged to sign up for the build day at bit.ly/SHPPortageVolunteers. The event starts at 8 a.m. and takes place all day at O’Brion Agency’s warehouse at 628 E. Albert St. in Portage.
Anyone who cannot attend the build day might still donate bedding and pillows or make a monetary donation on the group’s Facebook page.
The local need for beds is greater than Shaver and Scheibach had anticipated when the group formed in May 2018.
“If we didn’t have so many requests, we wouldn’t need to build this many,” Scheibach said of the group’s goal for June 15. “We’re getting further and further behind every day.”
Scheibach said the beds are given out as quickly as possible.
“Understand, we’re not building these beds just to stack them in a warehouse,” he said. “We’re trying to deliver between six to eight beds per week.”
Shaver said participants of the June 15 bed-building event also can deliver the beds in the future if they like.
“I think that once a person actually brings a bed into a kid’s room and sees their face, they’re hooked on SHP forever,” Shaver said. “We’re just so excited about this event.”