For the Child Without a Bed
3 percent of children in Chattanooga have no bed. The local of Chapter of Sleep In Heavenly Peace can help.
“Sleep In Heavenly Peace is estimating that 3% of the child population does not have a proper bed to sleep on,” says Bob Hirschi. The population of children in Chattanooga is roughly 335,000, he adds. This means that roughly 10,050 of children in our town are without a proper place to sleep.
The problem is not that the kids don't want a bed, or just don’t care for one, and it is in fact not the children's fault at all. “It is not their fault that Mom and Dad moved and left all their stuff, it's not their fault that Mom and Dad would prefer to abuse drugs than to buy them a bed, or buy a big screen TV instead,” says Hirschi. In 2020, Hamilton County was named the county with the 4th highest number of drug overdoses
in Tennessee, according to a drug overdose chart published by the Tennessee Department of Health. Hamilton County and the surrounding areas is where the Chattanooga chapter of Sleep In Heavenly Peace is located.
The mission at Sleep In Heavenly Peace is to eradicate community “childhood bedlessness” in our town. “Sleep In Heavenly Peace is to see that no kid sleeps on the floor in our town,” says Hirschi, the co-president of the Chattanooga chapter of Sleep In Heavenly Peace. “We don't want kids sleeping on mattresses that we wouldn't let our dogs sleep on." Sleep In Heavenly Peace is a nonprofit organization that runs completely off donations and volunteer work, building and giving beds to children that do not have a bed to sleep in. “We try to find out what the kids like so that we can provide them with bedding that they like, whether they like Frozen, or Paw Patrol, or Minecraft. Green, red, pink, purple,” says Hirschi. “In the Chattanooga area, I can only tell you by past experience in the last four years we've delivered 2,750 beds, and currently, we're 160 beds behind.”
2,750 children in four years is a problem, and Hirschi tries to make as big of a difference as possible. “We deliver beds just about every week on Wednesday and Sunday afternoon, and we are working towards getting 100 beds a month out. We’re running probably about 70 to 75 beds a month right now,” he adds with excitement and plans for the future.
Right now to build a bed costs about $200 in all, according to Hirschi. “That includes all the wood for the beds, the mattresses, the bedding, the pillows, and everything included. We have several very generous donors, and then we have people who donate $10 to $20 a month on a regular basis through our Donor Perfect Program, where they can go online to the website and
donate.” In the four years Hirschi has been working for Sleep In Heavenly Peace, they have received enough donations to grow significantly. Hirschi gave an example of a very generous donor they had last year that really helped the Chattanooga Sleep In Heavenly Peace chapter grow as largely as they have. Hirschi explained, “I had a woman call me last year, and said she had a client who wanted to donate $10,000 worth of stock. So we take those funds and we use those for our camps and our public builds and other private hosted build events.”
Sleep In Heavenly Peace has had many private build days in the past, sponsored by local companies, where the beds are built by volunteers. The builds have been sponsored by Kubota, The Southern Advantage University, College Dell, and many other places. Every year, Sleep in Heavenly Peace even has their own section at a big Christian music event in Chattanooga, called J-Fest, where they will try to reach their goal of 100 beds that day. “We will build 100 beds at J-Fest [this May] with just walk-in volunteers, and we’ll give volunteers the opportunity to put their hands on materials and build beds,” he explained. Sleep In Heavenly Peace has a Facebook page where people are notified about the upcoming build days.
Hirschi used to work for two homeless programs and later became the president of one in the Chattanooga area. He worked with a homeless program called Family Promise when he heard about what Sleep In Heavenly Peace does and jumped on board immediately. “This is great because we work and want to help people get out of homelessness, but when they get a home, they need beds too,” he explained. Hirschi has been working in the homeless and charity business for many years, so his past experience helped him and continues to help him with his job now at Sleep In Heavenly Peace.
Community “childhood bedlessness” is a problem and Sleep In Heavenly Peace is a solution. Throughout hard times, bad situations,
or whatever the situation is, Sleep In Heavenly Peace designs, builds, and delivers beds for children without a proper bed to sleep on, with no questions asked. They do it to serve the community. They do it for the children without a bed and the child who has nowhere to rest their head.