To help provide beds to those in need, Clay County Economic Development Council is organizing volunteers and donations for a Sleep in Heavenly Peace bed build project that will take place Saturday, May 1, around the downtown Liberty Square. The goal is to fund and build 50 twin beds.

“We live in the richest country in the world and no child should have to sleep on the floor. We are one of the wealthiest counties and there is plenty of wealth in the Northland,” Economic Development Council Chairman Greg Canuteson said. “We do big in the Northland.”

The event will take place on Main Street between Mississippi and Franklin streets.

“Clay County is a very giving place,” Canuteson said. “We want to make this project known to attract donations and help. I hope we are going to have a lot of volunteers and a lot of support to build 50 beds to ensure that struggling families can put their kids to bed in a bed.”

Canuteson has big hopes for the project, saying as proof of the wealth and generous nature of the county, the Clay County EDC was able to raise and donate $50,000 for Feed Northland Kids.

“We want to see this as an annual project. There are struggling families. The Northland is very giving and they have stepped up when they are asked,” he said. “Sometimes people want to help and don’t know how to. Well, we are giving them that outlet. This is the first year; let’s make it a success.”

Sleep in Heavenly Peace is an American nonprofit that builds and delivers beds to children who don’t have them. Luke and Heidi Mickelson founded SHP in 2012 in Twin Falls, Idaho. Clay County EDC Executive Director David Slater knew about the nonprofit thanks to previous work with Rotary International. He, like Canuteson, hopes the volunteer turnout for the worthy effort is strong.

“We are going to need at least 100 volunteers as it works well to have two people per bed,” he said. “We are going to get people outside. There will be a great energy.”

Rachel Hollinberger, program and marketing director at Hillcrest Hope, said the nonprofit has requested 15 beds for families moving into homes of their own.

“This event is an awesome effort to bring together so many from Clay County to provide for the needs of local children,” she said.

Mark Floersch, Northland chapter president for Sleep in Heavenly Peace and project leader, said he got inspiration for the project while watching Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” fame as part of a show called “Returning the Favor.”

“I was working at the post office at the time and was getting ready to eat my lunch,” he explained.

Monetary donations along with manpower is key.

“This is the sort of project that needs both people power and donations. We definitely need sponsors and donations for the lumber. The average cost for the bed frame, mattress … all in, is $200.”

Sleep in Heavenly Peace chapters are growing around the United States and in Bermuda.

“It’s fun to get together with people to do these builds,” said Floersch. “We have needs that are popping up from those taking in younger family members or grandparents taking in grandkids. When the kids or teenagers see their bed, they are excited. I was putting together a bed for a little girl, and during the build time, she drew me a thank-you note. That felt pretty good.”

Southeast Editor Kellie Houx can be reached at or 389-6630.

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