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'They are really doing a commendable job': Organization providing beds for kids in need

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An organization that provides new beds for children who need them made a delivery Saturday to a family that recently moved to Edmonton.

Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) is a nonprofit organization with chapters across Canada and around the world.

It was founded in the U.S in 2012 and the first Canadian chapter was founded in 2019. The group raises funds, builds and delivers beds to families for kids who don't have them.

There are five Canadian SHP chapters, one in Edmonton, Strathcona County, Vernon, Winnipeg and Windsor.

"Kids are not the best versions of themselves when they’re not well rested," said Julie Parr, the marketing and communications director for SHP Canada. "So having a good night’s rest means that kids learn better at school, they’re physically healthier and socially and emotionally they just function better.

"It also improves the sleep of parents. When there’s a family of five sleeping on a queen size mattress nobody’s well rested."

One such family was Vishal Shah's, who moved to Edmonton in November. They, including their six-year-old daughter Kheeana, have been sharing a queen size mattress and appreciate the gift they were given Saturday.

"It will make quite a lot of difference because she will get some of her privacy and she will feel more special," said Shah.

"You don’t find such services in other countries. They are really doing a commendable job."

SHP helps people who are living at or under the poverty line, as well as newcomers to Canada.

"We (also) have a lot, unfortunately, of mostly moms who are fleeing violent situations and starting completely over from scratch," said Parr.

The economic situation in Alberta is also contributing to a rise in demand for SHP's services.

"People are losing their jobs, they’re having to move, sometimes leaving everything behind in order to try to find new work and they have to start over again," added Parr. "They just don’t have the money for food, rent, clothes and beds, so beds will always get left to the end.

"On average in any community two per cent of kids do not have a bed to sleep in."

SHP has seen a surge in demand for beds for children ages 3 to 17 and since July 2022, the Strathcona County chapter has had a waitlist of around 200.

"Since then we’ve got it down to about 130 kids but keep in mind we’re still receiving applications on a private level from referral agencies," said Parr.

According to Parr, the organization has gotten requests from other provinces, including as far away as New Brunswick, which it had to turn down.

"What we’re noticing in Edmonton is our one chapter is servicing a city of over a million people and we can’t do it," she added.

SHP hopes to open two new chapters in Edmonton by the end of 2023, with the goal of increasing volunteer opportunities and getting beds out quicker.

"In the near future I would like to be a part of that and I would like to contribute my part because what they have done, what I see is really a great job and I would like to be a part of that," said Shah.

Across Canada, SHP has delivered over 1,100 beds to families in need of them.

In order to qualify for a bed from SHP, parents need to have custody of their children, an active lease, have limited income and the child must not have a bed at all.

SHP accepts donations of new twin size bedding and monetary donations on its website.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Amanda Anderson

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