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Church raises funds for beds

Money goes toward June building event

Chelsea Munroe, president, left, and Erin Sanders, vice president, both with Sleep in Heavenly Peace Trumbull County Chapter, show a bunk bed that members of Howland United Methodist Church will be making this summer to get beds to local children who do not have one. The church held a drive-thru spaghetti dinner fundraiser Sunday to raise funds for constructing 20 beds this year. Staff photo / Bob Coupland

HOWLAND — A newly formed organization is receiving help from members of Howland United Methodist Church in getting beds to children who do not have one.

Members of the Trumbull County chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace were assisted by the youth groups at the church on Sunday with a fundraising dinner and plans for a bed-building event to take place in June in the church parking lot.

Kaila Mohney, director of youth support ministries at the church, said plans are for the church members on June 19 to build 20 bunk beds for the program and are holding fundraisers, hoping to bring in $6,000 for the event. They also are collecting bedding, pillowcases, blankets, quilts and sheets for the beds. It costs $400 per bed for materials and wood, and to purchase mattresses, pillows and sheets.

Mohney said the drive will be ongoing.

“Our youth each year usually go on a mission trip to Appalachia to fix up houses. We can’t travel there this year, so the group found the Sleep in Heavenly Peace to help,” she said.

Erin Sanders, vice president of Sleep in Heavenly Peace Trumbull County chapter, said people help build, stain and deliver the beds.

“Our main purpose is to provide a bed for a child who needs one, We like to partner with local organizations and groups who want to participate in the bed build,” Chelsea Munroe, president of the Trumbull chapter, said.

Sanders said there are chapters in Mahoning and Columbiana counties, but the beds built in Trumbull County and money raised stay in the county.

Munroe said the Trumbull County chapter started last summer.

“Starting in the middle of COVID-19 presented some obstacles as far as fundraising and getting people involved. We have been fortunate churches like this one have been helping us,” Munroe said.

Mohney said another fundraiser, coffee and crafts will be March 27 at the church at $40 per person also to help raise money for the organization.

“Bedlessness is not a real word, but it is a real problem,” Munroe said.

She said many children ages 3 to 17 sleep on a couch, with a sibling or in a parent’s bed.

“One of the families we helped the parents were renting a bed and mom lost her job due to COVID-19, and they had to return the bed because they couldn’t pay for it,” Munroe said.

She said grandparents are raising grandchildren on fixed incomes and don’t have the funds for buying beds.

“It brings tears to your eyes. The children are so happy to get a bed. The parents, grandparents and caregivers are so gracious and thankful,” Sanders said.

Munroe said she remembers two young brothers who were excited to get beds.

“The 3-year-old jumped in the bed and pulled up the covers. He was so happy to have his own bed,” she said.

Munroe said since starting the chapter they have delivered 12 completed beds with 12 more ready to be delivered.

“We have 300 applications for beds. It is imperative that we have some build days to make beds,” she said, noting build days are three hours or more depending on the number of people participating.

Munroe said in addition to the Howland church, the Wildare United Methodist Church is planning a build in the fall. She said other public build days for the general public are planned for May.

The Howland United Methodist Church is a drop-off location for bedding through June 1.

Brandon Buratti, youth leader assistant at the church, said 25 youth helped run the boxed spaghetti dinners to the cars Sunday for four hours.

James Baer and Lukas Barringer, both 14 and of Howland, were among those helping.

“We wanted to help because we know what we are doing gets beds to children who do not have one,” Baer said.

Munroe said Sleep in Heavenly Peace has chapters in 44 states.

For information, visit www.shpbeds.org.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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