Each year, approximately 40,000 babies are born in the United States with a congenital heart defect. This equates to one out of every 110 newborns.…
Some volunteers worked in a parking lot, others worked in a barn, and one group even set up shop at a private residence. One team traveled two hours to get to the nearest location, and another endured a rainstorm that caused two delays in the project. But all were working toward the same goals: to help build 2,500 bunk beds across the country on the same day, set a Guinness World Record, and provide a comfortable place to sleep for thousands of children.
Volunteers from six of IPM’s seven offices participated in the first-ever Bunks Across America event, benefiting Sleep in Heavenly Peace. Started seven years ago by a man who learned about a family in his neighborhood whose kids slept on the floor and then recruited the boys’ group at his church to build a bunk bed, Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) now has 150 chapters nationwide. Its slogan: “No kid sleeps on the floor in our town.”
Ron Bertin, a senior project management consultant based in IPM’s Boston office, brought SHP to IPM’s attention. He says he endorsed the charity for IPM’s Integrated Project Mercy endeavor because he learned and was surprised by how many children sleep on the floor. “A bed really solves something,” Bertin says. “Getting a good night’s sleep correlates with how kids do in school. This is something we could really get our hands onto, our hearts into.”
The goal of the June 15, 2019 Bunks Across America event was to break a Guinness World Record by building 2,500 bunk beds in one day.
IPMers sawed, sanded, drilled, stained, and branded wood to create the components of the bunk beds, which would later be delivered and assembled in homes. Much of the wood, tools, and other supplies for the event and SHP’s building efforts year-round are donated, as are mattresses, pillows, and bedding.
Bunks Across America ultimately set records for the number of beds built and the number of volunteers working at the same time. In all, 8,534 volunteers from 108 chapters in 28 states made 2,729.5 bunk beds. Or, as SHP likes to say, 5,459 kids are no longer sleeping on the floor.
There is no SHP chapter near IPM’s New Jersey office, but the team there would not be left out. Volunteers elected to support St. Peter’s Orphanage in Denville, N.J., whose residential program provides at-risk children care, counseling, education, and a safe place to sleep.