The English cleric, theologian and evangelist John Wesley had a saying that applies to many of us in America.
A portion of the saying goes, “Do all the good you can, for as long as you can, in all the ways that you can.” To my way of thinking this is a pretty good slogan to live by. In this vein I try to serve and help as many people as I can, but occasionally I learn of something that I had never thought about before. This is the fact: about 3 percent of all the children in America do not have a bed to sleep in, and many of these kids sleep on the floor. Thus, the title for this column, “No Place to Lay My Head.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but just the thought of this really gets to me. The sweet lady who has been editing my column for over 20 years, Colleen Holt, learned about an organization that is doing something about this sad situation, and she thought about our “Bookcase for Every Child” project. Colleen saw some similarities and gave my name and number to Jessica Smith, who is involved in this project here locally. Jessica is employed by a local hospital but is also a member of the Central Arkansas Leadership Institute, which is a part of our local Chamber of Commerce.
After doing a little research, here is what I learned. About 12 years ago a group of people out in the state of Idaho learned that some children in their town were sleeping on the floor and decided to do something about it. The name of the organization that came as a result is “Sleep in Heavenly Peace.” They have a website www.SHP.com and I could not believe what these people have done to help a lot of these children, but there is still a ton of work that needs to be done.
Now, this is all volunteer and they are a 501c3 organization with several chapters in most every state in the nation. Here in Arkansas they presently have chapters in Bentonville, Fort Smith, Jonesboro and Vilonia. Of course, Vilonia is here in my home county and by far the smallest of the four. A wonderful lady by the name of Tammy Wright heads up the Vilonia chapter, and I had a nice visit with her on the phone. They are definitely taking action and I love to see that. As you may know, the key to success in most anything is to “find a need and fill it.” This is true whether it’s for profit or personal satisfaction, which to me is the best kind.
The slogan of this organization says it all: “No Kid Sleeps on the Floor in Our Town.” Vilonia is already organized and is meeting this need. They raise money, buy the bed-making materials -- including bedding -- and set a date to build the beds and deliver them. There is a link on the website where needy people can fill out a form to receive one of their beds. Jessica Smith, and the Conway Leadership group, are taking on the project to meet this need in the Zip code 72032, which is the east side of the city of Conway. When they meet this need, they plan to expand to the 72034 Zip code. They will succeed.
There are many ways to raise money, but I have three organizations that I support by a draft from my bank account each month. Not a lot for each one, but over time it adds up and does not hurt me or us at all. Would you be willing to help? Thanks!
(Jim Davidson is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist, and Founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in the Log Cabin Democrat in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated in over 375 newspapers in 35 states. For a personalized copy of “Your Future Begins Today” send $20, which includes postage and handling, to Jim Davidson, 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)