SAN ANTONIO – Come Christmas morning, 200 more San Antonio children will be waking up in their own beds, thanks to the local chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace.
The nonprofit estimates 2% to 3% of children across the country don’t have a bed. Instead, chapter president Eddie Arnold says kids may be doubled up in beds or sleeping on couches, air mattresses, or even the floor.
“We know that having a good night’s sleep impacts them both physically, mentally, emotionally and really throughout their life,” Arnold said. “So this is a way that we can help kids here in San Antonio be better people overall for the long haul.”
Though the nonprofit builds and delivers beds year-round, the dozens of volunteers loading up a fleet of personal vehicles were making the biggest push of the year -- 200 beds in all. The volunteers delivering beds to families around the city also assembled them.
The group also provides mattresses, bedding, and pillows. For the Christmas Eve deliveries, they included a Christmas stocking and fleece blanket for each bed, too.
Four of the beds were bound for the Martinez household, where six young boys share an apartment with their parents.
“We had some of them on our mattresses and also sleeping with us in our bed as well, just because they don’t like to sleep alone at night,” said Billy Martinez, the boys’ father.
Martinez said he found the nonprofit while looking on the internet for help with beds.
“So when we moved, we had to really just start over with furniture and everything,” he said. “So which is why we were needing the help. And we’re really blessed for these guys to come help us out with the beds for our kids.”
Though each bed makes a difference to the family that receives it, the demand is high. Applications are first come, first served, Arnold said, and there are plenty coming in.
In the past week, Arnold said the chapter had received 300 new applications, which has resulted in 700 kids being added to their list.
In four years, Arnold says the San Antonio chapter has built roughly 2,500 beds, and it aims to build and deliver 2,000 next year.
Arnold says there’s no financial statement requirement in applying for the beds. If a family feels like they need them, they can apply.
If you or someone you know needs a bed for a child, you can apply on Sleep in Heavenly Peace’s website.