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Church youth build beds for kids

Staff photo / Bob Coupland Andy McCracken of Howland, left, and Zach Nunemacher, 15, of Howland, work Saturday on cutting and preparing wood used for making beds for local children who do not have them as part of a joint effort between Howland United Methodist Church and Sleep in Heavenly Peace. Church youth members and other volunteers worked Saturday at the church.

HOWLAND — Youth with the Howland United Methodist Church did their part this weekend to help ensure local children have beds by taking part in a partnership with Sleep in Heavenly Peace, which gets beds built for needy families.

A work day took place this weekend outside the church.

Kaila Mohney, youth ministry director at the church, said 50 people participated, including youth group members and adult volunteers.

The beds built were delivered to homes of Trumbull County families.

The youth took part in a lock-in weekend Friday and Saturday and spent Saturday making the beds. A total of 80 beds was the goal as each participant worked at a different station such as drill press, hand drill, cutting, sanding and cleaning.

One work crew set up behind the church and the other near the main entrance.

Event organizers said 70 families registered to receive a bed.

“We usually take a mission trip, but this year we weren’t able to do that so we decided to take part in this project. Most of them are senior high school members. We decided to make this an annual event and partner with Sleep in Heavenly Peace,” Mohney said.

The youth and church collected various styles and colors of bedding.

A fundraiser dinner earlier this year raised about $3,000, and a $10,000 donation from the church was used for bedding, wood and materials.

“With the donation from the church, we actually doubled the amount of money we needed,” she said.

Elizabeth Darrin, 14, a ninth-grader, said, “It is really amazing to be able to help those who need help. We have been made aware of many children not having a bed. There are things we take for granted that we assume everyone has. It is humbling to be able to help others.”

Darrin said the youth on Friday watched a video about Sleep in Heavenly Peace.

Cami Thornhill, 14, youth group president and a junior from Howland, said, “It is amazing to be able to make beds for children who otherwise would not have one. We do not know what their families go through. I was shocked to learn how many children do not have a bed. It’s nice to be able to help them.”

She went with the delivery groups as they took the beds to homes in the Warren area for installation.

Thornhill also helped with building headboards for the beds.

“It is fun. I get to work with power drills,” she said.

“I think it is important that by doing this we can make an impact and help people in the community,” Anna Rider, 17, of Cortland, co-president of the youth group, said

Mohney said the organization asks kids about their interests so it can match the bedding, sheets and pillow cases with such things as butterflies, dinosaurs, animals or Star Wars.

Mohney said she has seen large families live in two-bedroom apartments and children have to sleep where they can.

Other Build Across America events have taken place in recent weeks including the weekend of June 12 when 10 beds were made by 40 volunteers in Cortland.

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