CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – Paul Mele made it his mission to make sure no children in the New River Valley are sleeping on the floor, but his chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace has put its mission on pause due to a lack of supplies.
“We’re completely out of beds,” Mele said. “In our dream world, we would have headboards and footboards stacked to the roof and going out to the kids as fast as we can get it to them.”
Mele started the New River Valley branch of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, which builds beds for children in need and donates them at no cost to the family. He reports the organization has built more than a hundred beds since he started the chapter last August.
He said 29 children in the New River Valley are currently on the waiting list for a bed.
“The need is real,” Mele said. “We find kids sleeping on the floor, on egg crates, on mattress pads, or alternating who gets to sleep on a recliner.”
Sleep in Heavenly Peace NRV also collects other bedroom supplies for their builds, including sheets, pillows, and blankets. Mele said the wait between builds has left him sleepless, and he hopes to get the next round of beds out to the community soon.
“When we leave and the kids are bouncing on the bed with joy, you feel so good inside that you want to start making more beds,” Mele said.
The group relies on donations to fund its mission; you can donate to the New River Valley chapter at this link.