Locals starting chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace


By Sarrah Peters, News Editor

Tommy Goodman was binge-watching a series on Facebook called Returning the Favor, hosted by Mike Rowe, well-known for his television show Dirty Jobs, when he encountered something that inspired him.

Returning the Favor features do-gooders looking to make a difference in their communities, and one of the featured organizations was Sleep in Heavenly Peace,  a charity that builds beds for children that do not have one. 

“That episode came on and he said it just checked with his spirit immediately,” said Valerie Goodman, Tommy’s wife. “My husband is a cabinet-maker by trade. He loves woodworking.”

Tommy texted the episode to Valerie and both were on board to start a local chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP). For the Gadsden SHP chapter, the Goodmans are aiming to serve a 75-mile radius of Gadsden

The Goodmans are currently in the process of starting the Gadsden chapter of SHP. They have visited Idaho, where the charity was first started, to complete training. The couple has been volunteering with the only other Alabama chapter, located in  in Hartselle, to learn the ropes. The Goodmans have also been meeting with the local Lowe’s to inquire about partnerships for supplies.

To begin building beds, the chapter needs enough to build its first five beds, which includes start-up costs such as tools, and ongoing costs for materials. Each bunk bed costs $355 to build. Tools needed include hammers, miter saw, a shop vacuum, screwdrivers, pliers and safety equipment.  Used tools are accepted, and as a charity, all donations are tax-deductible. Bedding is also needed. A full list of supplies and a link to donate is located on the Sleep in Heavenly Peace – AL, Gadsden Facebook page. Checks made out to Sleep in Heavenly Peace can be sent to 1670 Cedar Bend Road South, Southside, AL, 35907.

To provide more information to the community about SHP, the Goodmans are hosting a community interest meeting at Top of the River on April 7 at 5 p.m. Attendees are asked to RSVP to tommy.goodman@shpbeds.org.

Valerie said that there is a real need for the beds SHP provides.

“There are a lot of kids sleeping on the floor,” said Valerie.

Valerie said that even if the children are not sleeping directly on the floor, during her exposure to SHP she has heard of children sleeping on inflatable swimming pools and pile of clothing.

“I’ve seen things like this in third-world countries when I have gone on mission trips,” said Valerie. “But I’ve never seen it in our country until I went on my first delivery [with SHP].”

Lack of quality sleep can affect behavior and cognitive function.

“These are our leaders of tomorrow,” said Valerie. “These are our children. They didn’t ask to be in these situations and circumstances they are in. They are all within our communities, and something as simple as a bed can make a difference.”

The Goodmans were not the only ones inspired by the episode. Before it aired, SHP had nine chapters; there are now 160 chapters.

For more information, visit the Sleep in Heavenly Peace –AL, Gadsden Facebook page, call 205-383-6592 or email tommy.goodman@shpbeds.org

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