Keeping kids out of foster care: Metro nonprofit works with Lowe’s to build children beds

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - It's something many of us take for granted: our beds.

Hundreds of children in the Kansas City metro don't have a bed to call their own. Because of this, many of these kids are put into foster care.

There are a few local groups trying to change that, and Sleep in Heavenly Peace is one of them.

"Last year, we delivered over 260 beds," Marc, a frequent volunteer, said. "It kept more than 70 kids out of foster care, because they have to have a bed to be able to stay with a family member or guardian. And so, when you hear those numbers, it's hard not to come out on a day like today."

Above the sound of sawing, hammering, drilling, and sanding, Amanda Wyman managed to explain what was happening.

"This is a build for Sleep in Heavenly Peace," the Assistant Store Manager for Lowe's in Raymore said. " [It's] for kids who are sleeping on the floors that don't have beds, who sleep on air mattresses, couches."

Wyman was at the Valley View Parkway Lowe's in Independence Saturday morning along with about 40 other Lowe's employees and area volunteers. She pointed out the wood, the sanders, the drills, the hammers, the screws, the safety glasses and the tables that held it all. All of it was donated by Lowe's.

"We're a home improvement store, so why wouldn't we just want to be able to give a kid a bed?" Wyman said.

It took those volunteers about four hours to build 40 beds. Each one of the volunteers took turns doing the last step - using a branding iron to put the Sleep in Heavenly Peace monogram on the head and footboards.

The organization made it so easy, children as young as five were able to help. Eleven-year-old Miriam Cortes spent the morning volunteering.

"I really like doing it," she said. "I think I'll do it again."

Marc, Miriam's father, has volunteered with the organization for months now.

"A lot of these kids, whether it's coming from domestic abuse or their changing homes for one reason or another, this is just a chance for them to have something of their own," Marc said. "They just love it."

Sleep in Heavenly Peace will deliver some of these newly-built beds on Wednesday. The beds will be assembled in the children's rooms (and can be converted into bunk beds), and the organization says the children often help with the process.

"Not only do we give them the frames for the beds," Marc said. "We give them mattresses, blankets, sheets, pillows, and they've never had those."

Lowe's Wyman said she's been part of six deliveries.

"To see the kids help putting it together, and watching them jump on it," she stopped and grinned. "Just seeing a kid love it. It's just good to see somebody have nothing to get something."

Sleep in Heavenly Peace has several builds planned in the future. Check out their Facebook page for more details.

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