Between the Lines



Most of us can rest easy at night knowing we have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and a place to sleep. Notice I say “most.” You’d gasp at the number of children who go to bed each night right on the floor with nothing but a flat sheet separating them from the floor below. It’s astonishing that in 2020, in one of the richest and most developed countries on earth, we still have these problems. But, lo-and-behold, we do.

This fall I was invited to attend a “bed build” by my friends Dan and Christy Buckner and Neal and Kristi Brooks in Gadsden. It was with an organization called Sleep in Heavenly Peace, and they had recently become involved with the process. I have to admit that I had no clue what I was signing up for.

I have zero carpentry skills, and the last time I used a saw I plowed through an extension cord and almost electrocuted 11 people… so it’s safe to say I am no carpenter. However, once there, I soon realized that it was not even necessary to have any particular set of skills. Picture “stations” set up in assembly line fashion with individuals of all ages sawing, drilling, hammering, and sanding in unison. We actually sounded like a humming beehive and rightfully so. We were a group of busy, busy bees.

Flash-forward a few months and we have our very own chapter here in Oneonta! Thanks to the hard work of the Buckners, the Brooks, and many others along the way we are now able to have our own “bed builds” and make sure that, as the Sleep in Heavenly Peace slogan says, “no kid sleeps on the floor in our town.”

If you think I am being vague about this new organization, you’re right. Not to keep secrets, but to lure you to get involved and see for yourself how much of a blessing it can be to this community. Come to our first official chapter build on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 9 a.m., in the parking lot of Lester Memorial United Methodist Church. Yes, you can bring children; no, there is no age too old help; no, you don’t have to have experience; and yes, anyone can come.

If building isn’t for you, there are locations all over Oneonta accepting bedding donations (twin size – must be new) and cash donations (look for the clear SHP donation boxes). You can help make the difference for a child and family in need right here in Blount County. I hope to see you Feb. 22. I know I rest easy at night thinking of all the good we can do together!

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Until next time, I hope you find something new here in Blount County. It’s a good old place to call home.

-Richard Phillips