Mary Mabins, Pensacola State College
Sebastian Gordon, a Robinson Honors Program scholar, had no clue “bedlessness” was an issue in Escambia County.
Still, he, along with more than 100 other volunteers, turned out Saturday to help construct 20 sets of bunk beds for Sleep In Heavenly Peace (SHP). The national organization builds, assembles, and delivers wooden bunk beds to children and families in need.
“I didn’t know of the tremendous need here, but I came out today because I wanted to make an impact on my community and help others,” said Gordon, a biology major.
Defined as being without a bed, bedlessness is a real problem – not just in this community ─ but nationwide, said Kevin Loveday, president of the Pensacola SHP chapter.
“We have about 50 kids on a waiting list but today we will construct 40 beds,” he said. “We couldn’t do this without volunteers, and I want to thank PSC for hosting this event. We don’t often hold bed builds on this side of town. We really appreciate the College stepping forward.”
The bunk beds, which come fully equipped with mattresses and linens, are valued at about $500 each.
Held from 9 a.m.-noon in Parking Lot D of the Pensacola campus, the event was sponsored by College’s Student Engagement and Leadership Office in partnership with SHP. The Cantonment Rotary Club, PSC Student Veterans Association (SVA) and Southern Pine Inspection Bureau also donated funds for wood and other supplies.
Along with the Robinson Honors Program, volunteers included PSC students, members of the Pensacola campus Phi Theta Kappa chapter, Carpentry program students, and The Corsair staff, as well as administrators, faculty, and staff.
About 14 members of the Cantonment Rotary Club, several NAS Pensacola flight students, University of West Florida volunteers, and other community volunteers also helped during the bed build.
Lunch was prepared by the SVA and the African American Student Association.
“I was really pleased with today’s turnout,” said Liz Moseley, director of PSC’s Student Resource Center for ADA Services. “If our students want to do this again, I would love to get the other campuses involved – have bed builds on the Warrington and Milton campuses.”
The bunk beds were not assembled on Saturday. During a multi-step construction process, volunteers created modular bed kits that will assembled on site.
“The first step is sanding the wood and the last step is branding SHP on the headboards,” explained Buffi Loveday with Pensacola SHP chapter. “There is a 14-station assembly line.”
Anita Brunson, a PSC Student Services advisor, worked at the sanding station.
“I was really attracted to the cause and excited to volunteer,” Bronson said. “I’m also learning some new skills and enjoying it. I have never worked in carpentry but I’m learning how to sand wood today and helping provide beds for children.”
Cantonment Rotary Club members Dustin Vaughn and Ray Asherfeld echoed Brunson’s comment.
“We’re glad to help out such a worthy cause,” Asherfeld said. “It’s great weather and at the end of day, some children will have beds to sleep in.”
Started by Luke and Heidi Mickelson in 2012 in Twin Falls, Idaho, Sleep in Heavenly Peace has more than 200 chapters around the United States and has built more than 35,000 beds.
The Lovedays opened the Pensacola chapter in 2019 and delivered the first beds to area children in October of that year. Since that time, the Pensacola chapter has provided beds for more than 200 children.
To help out
Acrylic yarn 6-inch Granny Squares are still being accepted for blankets. PSC students can pick up yarn kits and return the completed squares to campus libraries.
For more information on Sleep In Heavenly Peace, visit www.shpbeds.org/chapter/fl-pensacola.