Building Support During COVID-19
Luke Mickelson: From Building Beds to Building Support During COVID-19
Luke Mickelson, Idaho’s hero to bedless children across America, has shifted focus during the coronavirus quarantine. Normally, Mickelson would be swinging a hammer in his workshop, tirelessly building bunk beds for sleepy kids who desperately need a proper place to sleep. During the current crisis he’s adjusting to hunkering down like the rest of us to wait it out.
For him personally, the hectic daily schedule hasn’t changed. It’s just a different to-do list. Mickelson homeschools his kids like thousands of parents across the country, making sure they don’t fall behind. He also works on projects he normally wouldn’t have time for while running his non-profit Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP), whose mission is to end child bedlessness in America.
“I still work from home three days a week and help homeschool. I always find ways to stay busy,” Mickelson says.
The Fundraising Struggle
Being a non-profit, SHP relies heavily on private contributions to run his charity. With the crisis affecting the livelihoods of most Americans in a negative way, he’s feeling it, too. “Contributions are down 85% since it started,” Mickelson says. But his main focus is on the beating heart of the organization; the thousands of volunteers who do the hands-on work day in and day out. Their contributions are something he can’t afford to lose.
So Mickelson addresses this with his people daily to keep them motivated. “When this is over the need is going to be greater than ever,” he explains. And Mickelson wants to be ready to fill that need.
A Giving Nature
This drive isn’t surprising coming from Mickelson. His upbringing in rural Idaho taught him to endure while his Christian faith taught him to help wherever he can. It’s this deeply ingrained value system that drew him away from a high-paying white collar job to volunteering his building skills to help kids. After building the first bed for a little girl who slept on a nest of old clothing, he knew what his life’s calling was.
The Little Nest
Seeing the small child’s reaction to having a real bed brought tears to his eyes and motivated him to start Sleep in Heavenly Peace. Mickelson has since expanded his non-profit to 100 chapters in almost every state. Saving the dreams of children is what he lives for now.
The Real Effects of Crisis
The nationwide shutdown has sadly forced Mickelson to temporarily halt shipping beds. While he and his army of volunteers keep their skills sharp at home, there’s no doubt they are eager to resume their rewarding work at SHP. He also laments the rigidity of lockdown.
“We need to understand the effects that some of our decisions have relative to the risk involved. I think that some of these decisions are a little harsh, especially for small business owners trying to make a living and who are in fact taking the necessary precautions to avoid problems,” Mickelson states. In the end, he and many others must trust that our leaders are doing what’s best for everyone in the long run.
Refocus Your Support
As he and his team wait patiently to build and ship more beds, Mickelson looks to those who can’t just sit idle during this time. Essential workers like truckers, grocery workers, and health workers need every type of support and love we can send their way.
“It’s really frustrating that we can’t currently help these needy kids, but I think it’s important to focus on what we can do and who we can help. Local first responders, doctors and medical staff are the people that need our help right now. Whatever your passions are to help people, shift it a little bit to help those that need it. Choose your joy,” he says.
The Future of Kindness
How does Mickelson think the social distancing practices will affect the future? He believes it will only be a little, and for a short time. “We’re not gonna keep the human race from wanting to hug and embrace each other,” he says. The bigger impact will be on companies following new safety and health regulations that no doubt will come.
No Sleep for the Sandman from Idaho
While all is paused and quiet, Mickelson waits, hammer in hand, to begin building dreams for young ones everywhere. He keeps his skills sharp and his workers eager. “Families are struggling to get beds under these kids. This is my passion and purpose for life; helping them out,” he says. May his yearning heart soon get its wish.
Coronavirus is putting a strain on families who are already struggling to afford housing, let alone life’s necessities. Loss of jobs and paychecks is compounding their struggle to survive. Let’s hope this pandemic passes soon, and SHP can continue its good work. For more information, be sure to read the Luke Mickelson and Sleep in Heavenly Peace article on Throomers.com.