A group of young volunteers wearing their Feeding God's Children t-shirts
December 20, 2021

Sleep in Heavenly Peace

In a unique event, St. Aloysius 2172 member Ashley Waggoner built beds to build children’s futures.

When I hear the words “sleep in heavenly peace,” my favorite Christmas carol, “Silent Night,” comes to mind. But I also think about the conditions our Lord endured when he entered this world. He had to rest in a cold, uncomfortable, and dirty manger. Unfortunately, there are millions of children around the U.S. — potentially over two million, to be exact — facing inadequate sleeping conditions at this very moment.

A lack of quality sleep leads to a host of negative health conditions and mental health consequences, especially in young children. The debilitating impact of sleep deprivation at a young age cannot be overstated. According to the journal Academic Pediatrics, “children ages 3 to 7 who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have problems with attention, emotional control, and peer relationships in mid-childhood.”1 Simply put: for children, sleeping well through the night — ideally for at least seven hours — is completely essential to their development.

By extension, I would say this issue doesn’t get the right amount of attention, and the gift of a good night’s sleep is not only priceless, but a basic human need. With the spirit of the Christmas season upon them, a Catholic Order of Foresters (COF) court in Shandon, Ohio — a small community 26 miles northwest of Cincinnati — worked to ensure children were able to sleep in heavenly peace this winter.

St. Aloysius 2172 members partnered up with Sleep in Heavenly Peace to provide much-needed help to children who don’t have a good bed to sleep in. Sleep in Heavenly Peace is an organization that organizes volunteers to build beds for children. There are many different locations and build sites that volunteers can choose. Learning more about this process, the different locations, and the number of volunteers needed to make this happen, hit home for me. It shows just how big of an issue this really is. Sleep in Heavenly Peace estimates that about 2-3% of children across the country do not have a bed to sleep in. When I read that statistic, I was shocked at the number of children affected by this issue, and I was even more interested in learning about St. Aloysius’ involvement in helping this cause.

Members from St. Aloysius 2172 were more than happy to lend a hand in this effort as event organizer Ashley Waggoner explained, “There was a lot of coordinating and hard work, but it started to click when I realized I was making a difference,” she said. “It’s a great cause and allowed me to make a little bit more of a difference.”

In addition to assisting Sleep in Heavenly Peace, St. Aloysius 2172 also participated in a 5k to raise funds for bed materials — a fun and healthy way to go the extra mile (pun intended) for this cause.

I’m always struck by the creativeness of COF members. It seems like just when I thought I’ve seen every type of Feeding God’s Children event, they come up with something new.

This event opened my eyes to the wide range of services that could be beneficial in different communities across the country. It also makes me think of all the things I take for granted, like my own bed. I now understand what a luxury it is.

Article by Connor McEleney