A new, local nonprofit chapter specializing in providing beds for children in need celebrated its first “bunk bed build” on Saturday.
The Logan chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace — a nonprofit organization based out of Kimberly, Idaho — is headed by Hillcrest Elementary teacher LeeAnn Koval. According to Koval, an estimated 30 volunteers showed up on Saturday to help build 10 beds for children in and around the Cache Valley area.
Lowe’s donated funding for tools and material to construct 20 beds, Koval said, while local company Malouf provided mattress and bedding at a discounted price. Schreiber Foods also contributed, as well as locals who donated quilts and pillows.
For Koval, the experience has been serendipitous.
“Everything has just fallen into line,” Koval said. “I think it and it happens — it’s so great. I’m overwhelmed is what I am, totally overcome with joy.”
Koval’s participation with charities began in 2003.
After her husband — a fallen firefighter based in Idaho — died that year, Koval said she was moved by the amount of support she received in those trying times. The fire department in Idaho put on an event to help raise funds for the then-pregnant Koval and her family.
“I remember walking over to the facility, and there were like a thousand people there,” Koval said. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, how am I going to thank all these people?’”
Koval said it was at that moment she decided to dedicate herself to philanthropy and “paying it forward.”
“It was a little crazy time in my life,” Koval said. “I couldn’t thank all of them personally, but what I can do is pay it forward.”
Koval later moved to Logan while working as a teacher. In 2018, she became familiar with the SHP charity and shortly thereafter learned of a struggling student in her classroom.
The student’s family life was being upended, Koval said, resulting in new living arrangements with a grandmother, where he and his brother were sleeping on the floor. The student told Koval of an arachnid presence — and subsequent “awful, sticky” spider traps — near his sleeping area. The student told Koval his blanket had to be cut after becoming entangled with the spider traps.
“Well,” Koval told the student, “I’m going to get you some beds then.”
Koval laughingly recalls having to leave the room briefly to manage some tears, but remembered SHP and knew exactly who to contact. She reached out to SHP Director of Operations Matt McEwen and quickly got the project approved. With no chapter in Logan at the time, Koval made the pilgrimage to Lehi to build the beds with a group in the area and trucked them back to Cache Valley in her Subaru.
“This little boy was just so excited to have a bed,” Koval said.
Koval said there are currently an estimated 18 bed applications for children in Cache Valley, Brigham City and Tremonton. She’s hopeful to deliver the 10 beds made on Saturday before Christmas.
After the new year, Koval said she may facilitate one bed build per month for the foreseeable future. She championed all the volunteers and supporters who helped make the first bed-build a success and thanked co-presidents Jon Hoy and Ashley Braken for their efforts.
“It just all happened how it was supposed to,” Koval said. “I couldn’t do this by myself.”
For information on the application process and how to donate or volunteer, visit www.shpbeds.org/chapter/ut-logan.