A nonprofit group that provides beds to kids who need them is launching an effort in northeast Iowa’s Delaware County, the fifth chapter in the state.

Keith Kramer is heading up the new branch of “Sleep in Heavenly Peace,” based in Hopkinton. “What it’s about is to make sure no children in our community or in our county ever have to sleep on the floor again,” Kramer says. “It’s really about building beds and delivering beds. We find out that the kids do so much better when they have their own beds. They sleep better. They do so much better in school and everything.”

The program was started about six years ago in Idaho and has since spread to 225 chapters across the country, including in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Center Junction, and Essex. Kramer says when he learned about the program, it motivated him to start a chapter.

“I used to be on the ambulance crew for 17 years in Hopkinton,” he says. “You go into some homes and know that a lot of these kids are sleeping either on the floor or on just a mattress or they’re sleeping on a couch. You say, is this really the right thing to do in our communities and in our county?” Donations are welcome. Kramer says it costs $175 to build one bed, which includes the frame, mattress, and bedding.

The Delaware County chapter is planning a “Community Build Beds Day” on Sunday, April 5th, and they’ll need up to 50 volunteers. “There’ll be probably 20 different jobs which include cutting and sanding the wood and putting all of the pieces together,” Kramer says. “There’s a lot of drilling to go with it. We’re looking for amateurs, not necessarily professionals, to help with this project.”

Kramer says there is a need. He says Jones County started its chapter last summer, planning to build 30 to 40 beds within a year. Just seven months later, they have surpassed that number, with over 100 beds built and about a dozen more on the waiting list.

(By Janelle Tucker, KMCH, Manchester)