Retirees Launch Nonprofit to Build Beds for Kids in Need

By: Paula Green

At a time in life when most couples are enjoying some well-earned rest or spending lots of time with grandchildren, retirees Ed and Elaine Snyder of Mars, Penna., are spending their days sanding wood, pounding nails, organizing volunteer groups and soliciting donations. The couple recently started the Mars Chapter of the national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) when they learned of an acute need for beds for children. They build beds for kids ages 3 through 17 who don’t have a bed to sleep in. They will service parts of western Butler, eastern Beaver, and northern Allegheny Counties. The couple solicited the assistance of their friend, Dave Nock, of Cranberry Twp, who co-chairs the Mars Chapter with them. They have a motto for the organization, “No Kids Sleeps on the Floor in Our Town.”

“It’s hard for us, who sleep comfortably every night and have the things we need and want, to imagine that there are kids sleeping on the floor,” said Mrs. Snyder. “But it happens every night and not that far from your home or ours. There are lots of poor and single parent families who are struggling. Before Children & Youth Services places a child with a relative or with foster parents, they must have a bed for that child to sleep in and that magnifies just how important a bed is to the well being and stability of a child. The beds, complete with mattress, sheets, blanket, comforter and pillow are free to any qualifying family.

The group recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the warehouse that they are renting in Rochester, Penna. and had their first bed-building day. Once they put the word out that they were officially open for business, it took less than 24 hours to receive two requests for beds. They delivered their first beds to two families and got five kids off of the floor to sleep in heavenly peace.

For more information, to volunteer or to donate, visit http://www.shpbeds.org/chapter/pa-mars. The Snyders can be reached via email at elaine.snyder@shpbeds.org.