Building beds—and hope—for kids in need

“No kid sleeps on the floor in our town.”

The motto of Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) is more than just a saying: It’s a mission that has galvanized people across the country. The Idaho-based organization, which builds beds for families in need, has grown to more than 200 chapters—including one in Oak Forest, Illinois, that completed its first project earlier this year with the help of Ed Copher Jr.

ThorntonPowell Insurance and Sleep in Heavenly Peace

“No kid sleeps on the floor in our town.”

The motto of Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) is more than just a saying: It’s a mission that has galvanized people across the country. The Idaho-based organization, which builds beds for families in need, has grown to more than 200 chapters—including one in Oak Forest, Illinois, that completed its first project earlier this year with the help of Ed Copher Jr.

“When I learned a chapter was forming here, I knew that I needed to be a part of it,” said Copher, a personal lines account manager for Thornton Powell Insurance in Oak Forest. “I have seven kids, and I couldn’t imagine not having a place for them to sleep.”

Copher learned about SHP through a television show that featured the organization’s founder—a show that Dave King saw, too. “I thought this was something I could bring to our area,” King said. “Next thing I knew I was flying to Idaho for training!”

Building beds—and hope—for kids in needToday, King is president of the chapter, with Copher serving as vice president and delivery manager. Once a month, the two get together with a core of volunteers, and a pile of lumber, and start building. Typically, the crew builds 10 bunks (20 beds), and delivers them one or two nights a week.

The recipients are victims of fire and flooding, families that have had to relocate to escape abuse, those in financial need, and others. Since the first event in March, the Oak Forest chapter has built and delivered nearly 100 beds in more than 20 cities in and around the south suburbs of Chicago.

“We delivered five beds to a family that lost everything due to water damage,” Copher said. “The kids were grinning ear to ear. It was my first experience of seeing how bad some people have it, and the joy we can bring with a little teamwork.”

Building beds—and hope—for kids in need 1In addition to helping to build and deliver beds, Copher and other Thornton Powell employees participate in multiple fundraising events for SHP, from promotion and volunteering to donating themselves. The agency has sponsored a build day, and regularly supports other local organizations as well.

“Ed helps with so much, and Thornton Powell staff members have gotten involved, too,” King said. “None of this would be possible without their support.”

The agency’s commitment to community has earned a 2019 Safeco Make More Happen Award, which includes a donation of up to $10,000 for Sleep in Heavenly Peace from Safeco on behalf of Thornton Powell.

ThorntonPowell check presentationThat money will help the organization address a core need—purchasing a trailer to transport tools and materials to build sites—while also leaving enough to build beds and supply bedding, mattresses, and pillows for 45 kids.

“This is a great cause that is bringing people together,” Copher said. “Individuals and organizations are constantly asking us how they can help. Volunteers feel good knowing that they’re making a difference. We’re really making the world a better place, one bed at a time.”

Volunteers feel good knowing that they’re making a difference. We’re really making the world a better place, one bed at a time.

Learn more about these Make More Happen award winners:

  • Agency: Thornton Powell Insurance, thorntonpowell.com, Oak Forest, Illinois
  • Nonprofit: Sleep in Heavenly Peace (Oak Forest Chapter), shpbeds.org, Kimberly, Idaho
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