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High school students build more than 100 beds for children in Linn County

Published: Apr. 17, 2021 at 10:03 PM CDT
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HIAWATHA, Iowa (KCRG) -Around 130 high school students started their weekend with the goal of building 100 beds for children in Linn County, and ended up surpassing that goal.

The project was a collaboration between Iowa BIG and the Cedar Rapids/Marion chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace.

Carsyn Levi and Anna Neumann are two of the student organizers on the project. “Sometimes we forget to think about and realize how much we take for granted, and so I’m really excited to be able to see the smiles on these kids faces when we deliver the beds,” says Neumann. The more than 100 students from various high schools worked together across three shifts to get all the beds put together.

The students also gathered donations and raised almost $3,000 to buy bedding to go along with the frames. “Because a lot of kids they don’t have a bed and they don’t have bedding,” says Levi, “And so you can’t have a bed without the bedding, we wanted to make sure the kids have everything they need to sleep comfortably at night.”

Mark Conzett, president of the Cedar Rapids/Marion chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, says the 100-bed-build is more than twice the size of a normal build day. He says after seeing an uptick in demand after the August derecho, the non-profit is working to get ahead.

“Child bed-lessness, it’s something that affects 2-3% of the population, so in Linn County, with our population here... between 6,000-8,000 kids every single night sleeping on the floor,” says Conzett. Their chapter plans to build more than 500 beds throughout 2021.

Sleep in Heavenly Peace Founder and Executive Director Luke Mickelson came to Iowa for the event, and says he was excited to see so many students wanting to help their community. “To teach these kids, and other people who may have never had the opportunity to use power tools to build things with their hands, and then to go to a good cause like getting a child off the floor, it’s just a neat experience,” says Mickelson, “I hope they walk away with the value of what it feels like to help someone else out.”

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