Sleep in Heavenly Peace

Nonprofit makes, gives beds to children who have none

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - On Saturday morning while you probably still were sleeping in your bed, members of a local group already were out delivering new ones to a family previously sharing beds or sleeping on couches.

“I’m getting a new bed,” exclaims 6-year-old Khloe Leslie, watching members of Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) carrying wood and pre-made headboards through her home and into a bedroom she shares with her 10-year-old sister.

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“I made a phone call to a friend of mine in Bossier Parish schools,” explains Don Harper, who founded the Bossier Parish chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace.

“He said, ‘Don, there is a need you wouldn’t believe. You can’t make enough beds'.”

Harper says he was told that 2,000 of the 26,000 children attending school in Bossier Parish have some sort of sleeping issues, left to share a bed or having no bed at all.

In the handful of months since the Bossier chapter was founded, SHP-Bossier has hosted a couple of bed builds at Christ Fit Gym in Bossier City.

A finished product from a recent bed build at Christ Fit Gym in Bossier City
A finished product from a recent bed build at Christ Fit Gym in Bossier City (SHP)

At each bed build, the group works to build dozens of beds at a time to try to meet a growing need in the Shreveport-Bossier City area, where Harper says they have a waiting list of 70 requests for beds.

“I post anything we do during the day. A Bible study, I’ll post about that,” explains Christ Fit Gym social media manager Samantha York, who helped promote the recent bed builds on Christ Fit’s and SHP’s social media pages.

“I texted her to say thank you and for being a part of what we’re doing,” begins Harper, explaining how he was hoping York would want to continue helping his organization.

"He asked me and, within seconds, I said ‘Yes’, a smiling York recalls.

Samantha York helps build a bed on behalf of Christ Fit Gym for Sleep in Heavenly Peace
Samantha York helps build a bed on behalf of Christ Fit Gym for Sleep in Heavenly Peace

She says she didn’t hesitate at the opportunity because she knows all too well what it’s like to grow up without a real bed to call your own.

“It was my cousins, their mom, my grandmother, my brother and sister and myself,” York says of growing up in New Mexico, raised by only her mother.

“There was a storage shed in the back,” York emotionally reveals.

And even after moving into a home of their own, York says it was still a struggle.

“There were times we didn’t have electricity and we slept on the floor by the fire place because we couldn’t afford to pay the electric bill.”

York not only helps SHP with their social media pages, but also as a volunteer on a recent bed delivery.

“It hit me hard,” says York.

“We walked into that house and it brought back so many memories.”

Families requesting assistance from Sleep in Heavenly Peace, can log onto SHPbeds.org, click on ‘request a bed’, and then select the Bossier Parish chapter to complete the request.

Harper is also hoping local businesses and churches would be interested in sponsoring upcoming bed builds.

“I hope we are changing lives,” says Harper.

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