HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — The sound of hammers and power tools flooded a warehouse on West Elm Street in Hagerstown as volunteers worked to build beds for children in Washington County.
Ernie Giancola is the president of the Hagerstown chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, an organization that works to make sure every child has a bed to sleep on at night. He first got involved with Sleep in Heavenly Peace after volunteering at a build for the Frederick chapter of the organization. It inspired him to start a chapter in Washington County and was overjoyed to hold the chapter’s first bed build on Saturday.
“We take it for granted every night when we put our head down on a pillow and a mattress and a bed that was personally ours we can, we own it,” Giancola said. “That’s not the luxury that a lot of children have.”
Volunteers cut, sanded, and stained wood that was donated by a local Lowe’s for the beds. Once completed, the beds will be distributed to families who either submit an application or receive a referral to Sleep in Heavenly Peace by an outside source like a teacher or social worker.
“Sleeping on a bed impacts a child’s life. I mean, educational, health, mental wise,” Giancola said. “It’s just so impactful for a child, and not to have to sleep on the floor and be able to sleep on a bed.”
Giancola was moved to tears after participating in his first delivery, an experience he shared with his Build Manager Mark Sandee. Giancola and Sandee recall how families were so appreciative, many of them crying, to finally receive their own bed.
“It’s just amazing how much just a bed makes a big difference where they really give them hope,” Sandee said. “It makes a big difference to know that somebody cares.”
Sleep in Heavenly Peace operates off the generosity of volunteers and donations. While the mattresses are purchased through the corporate office of the organization, other items such as pillows, sheets, and blankets are acquired through donations.
On Saturday, Sleep in Heavenly Peace Hagerstown received a donation of handmade blankets that will be distributed with the beds. During their first build, volunteers were able to make 30 beds for children in Washington County.