OSAWATOMIE — Heather and Skyler Gravatt applied elbow grease and wood stain to freshly made bed frames behind Lang Chevrolet on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 17.
Inside a nearby shop area, Osawatomie Rotary Club member and local banker Mark Fuchs was busy driving a screw into a board while Helene Kambach, an Osawatomie High School exchange student from Germany, steadied the bed frame.
The mother-daughter Gravatt team, representing OHS After Prom, Fuchs and Kambach were part of a contingent of 88 volunteers who gathered at Lang Chevrolet on Old Kansas City Road as part of the Osawatomie Rotary Club’s 2019 community service project to build and deliver 20 beds to children in the community who do not have one.
Osawatomie Rotary President Kari Burchett said there are children in the community who are sleeping on couches, floors or sharing a bed because they do not have one of their own.
Volunteers with the bed-building project represented a variety of Osawatomie organizations, churches and individuals. Some of the volunteers included parents and children as they made it a family affair.
“It’s a great project and we wanted to help give kids a bed to sleep in at night,” Brandi Armstong said.
The Osawatomie resident was using a sander to smooth boards. Her husband, Billy, and children Lillie and Addyson, were running sanders alongside her.
Osawatomie Rotary worked with Sleep in Heavenly Peace’s KS-Kansas City South Chapter which brought the materials and its volunteer members to show local residents how to assemble the beds and then worked alongside them.
The national organization helps children in need of better sleep by providing them with beds that can be assembled as a single bed or built into bunk beds, depending on a family’s needs, during its “Build Day” events.
It was the Kansas City South chapter’s first bed-building project in Miami County and the ninth overall since its first build event in August 2018, said Rachel Kroh, SHP’s chapter president.
The chapter’s territory includes five counties — Johnson, Wyandotte, Douglas, Franklin and Miami.
Kroh said the beds usually are not built and delivered in the same day, but the Miami County project was going to accomplish both tasks on Saturday.
“After today, we will have delivered 270 beds,” said Kroh, who sported a light blue shirt with the SHP slogan “No Kid Sleeps on the Floor in Our Town!” printed on the back. “There are a lot more volunteers here today that we expected. This is great.”
Dr. Burchett, Rotary president, said she was grateful for the community’s support.
She said each bed would include a mattress, pillow and bedding. Members of the Miami County Quilters Guild also made and donated 20 quilts, one for each bed.
Sleep in Heavenly Peace recently made a presentation at a Paola Rotary Club meeting as well as attended a Serving Our Students event in the community. Kroh said she is encouraged by Paola’s interest and hopes the chapter can do more build events in Miami County in the future.
On its Facebook page, the Osawatomie Rotary Club reported the kids were excited to receive the beds.
“The neatest thing was kind of realizing there was a true need for what we were doing,” Burchett said late Saturday afternoon in a follow-up phone message. “These beds should last these kids a long time and put them in a lot better situations at night. It was nice to do a service that really meets a need we have here in town.”