A charity that builds beds for kids in need has a new and much larger space to call home — a warehouse owned by Catholic Charities.
“It’s wonderful to have this spacious place,” said Tom Recktenwald. “It gives us an opportunity to set up an assembly line that makes the process more efficient.”
Recktenwald, a parishioner of St. Lawrence Church, founded the local chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace in 2018 in his basement.
He said the increased space makes it possible to host large groups that wish to volunteer, not to mention it has significantly decreased the amount of sawdust in his house.
The charity recently received a shipment of wood for 50 beds, something he said he never would have been able to store at his home.
Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a national non-profit, uses volunteers to build, assemble and deliver bunk and single beds to families in need. The charity’s motto is, “no child sleeps on the floor in our town.”
The partnership with Catholic Charities began after The Record first reported on the charity in December of 2019.
Deacon Lucio Caruso, director of mission and identity for Catholic Charities of Louisville, said he was moved by Recktenwald’s commitment to providing a comforting place for children to lay their heads to rest each night. When he encountered Recktenwald, he told him so.
“In the course of our conversation, my brain went ‘ding, ding, ding.’ I thought, ‘I have the perfect place for you to move into,’ ” he recalled.
The place was a warehouse in West Louisville owned by Catholic Charities.
Within 36 hours, Deacon Caruso ran the idea by leadership at Catholic Charities and the proposal was approved.
Sleep in Heavenly Peace moved into the space on Feb. 10 and went to work right away. The warehouse, located at 2148 Main Street (with the entrance on Market Street), also houses large furniture donations, such as couches, tables and chairs for Catholic Charities’ refugee resettlement program.
A portion of the space was originally outfitted as a woodworking shop with the hopes of providing job-training skills to those reentering the workforce, but the program never really took off.
Recktenwald works with Kristi Mattingly, Catholic Charities’ volunteer coordinator, to partner with local school and parish groups that wish to volunteer.
On Feb. 27, seniors from Assumption High School volunteered with Sleep in Heavenly Peace as part of the school’s Mission Week.
Maddie Nalley, a senior at Assumption High School, said she was excited to help with the ministry because it helps kids in the community.
“It’s cool to get to be part of the beds being made from start to finish,” she said.
The Assumption students were also able to deliver beds to some families as well.
“One of the little boys was so appreciative and thankful for what we were doing,” she said.
Nalley said Assumption’s Mission Week was focused on helping those in the community and working with Sleep in Heavenly Peace was a perfect way to do that.
“It’s a really good organization and makes an impact right here in our community,” she said.
To volunteer, contact Kristi Mattingly by email at email@example.com or by phone at 637-9786, ext. 316. Donations of pillows, sheets and other bedding are also welcome.