Francisca Benitez

By Francisca Benitez

The Observer

On Saturday there will be a fundraiser at the Riveria Activity Center for the Blue Mountain chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a nonprofit that builds free beds for children who need them.

The Blue Mountain chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace was established in January and isn’t yet active. Elgin residents Katie and Pete Trick are co-presidents.

The fundraiser is a craft fair, and there will be a raffle with prizes from local businesses as well as vitits with the Easter Bunny from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. There will be a display with one of the beds that Sleep in Heavenly Peace builds, and the Tricks will be there to answer questions about the organization.

The Tricks said they personally know Luke Mickelson, who originally created the nonprofit in 2012 in Twin Falls, Idaho, and realized the mission of the organization could benefit Eastern Oregon.

“We started looking around and we saw there was a big need to take care of kids in the town and the whole county,” Pete said.

For many families, children’s beds are a luxury, leaving many kids sharing with their siblings or their parents — some even just sleep on the floor.

Sleep in Heavenly Peace’s motto is “No kid sleeps on the floor in my town.” There are now 137 chapters of the organization in the U.S. The organization builds the beds with the help of volunteers and delivers them to homes complete with mattresses and bedding — all for free.

Mickelson was featured in CNN’s Heroes series in December. In the CNN report, he said he started the organization because he met children who were sleeping on the floor in his community. At the beginning, the nonprofit consisted of a group of friends who made and delivered 11 beds. Now the organization, which has no paid staff members, has delivered more than 4,000 beds.

The Tricks said when they established the Blue Mountain chapter in January, they took a trip to Twin Falls to the Sleep in Heavenly Peace headquarters to build beds and deliver them to families. They described their visit as a heartwarming experience.

“When you take the time to go deliver it to these kids and set it up, they climb up on their bed and they don’t want to come down. That’s when it gets you the most,” Pete said.

For his full-time job, Pete owns and operates Red Roof Construction, where Katie also holds a full-time position as an HR manager. The couple has been married for seven years and is originally from Northern California.

The Blue Mountain chapter is accepting monetary donations as well as donations of new bedding, lumber and twin-sized mattresses. Katie will be selling her homemade sock sloths at the fundraiser, with the option to donate them back to the program to be given to a child or to take home. The chapter is also looking for volunteers.

Sleep in Heavenly Peace holds bed-building events that anyone can attend — companies and organizations can even sponsor these events as team-building exercises. The beds are usually standard bunk beds, but if only one bed is needed per family, they can be delivered as singles.

The Tricks explained anyone can submit a request for a bed anywhere in the country on the Sleep in Heavenly Peace website. The Blue Mountain chapter will deliver to a very large area.

See complete story in Friday's Observer