Nicki Ekhomu laughed, admitting that she showed up Tuesday morning with no woodworking experience.
But Ekhomu and the rest of the Florida State women’s basketball team soon were practically DIYers, helping to assemble bunk beds for those in need in Tallahassee and elsewhere in the panhandle.
“They pretty much told us how to do it and they had someone experienced at every station,” Ekhomu said. “They broke it down to us. It was easy but it was very detail-oriented.”
With the help of a few regular volunteers, the Seminoles helped Sleep In Heavenly Peace reach a goal of assembling 30 bunk beds. Volunteers took the 2x4s and then measure, cut, sand and screw pieces together. A complete bunk bed wasn’t made Tuesday, as the SHP crews will later drive the larger pieces to a recipient’s home and assemble on site.
SHP chapter president John Cousins said each bed takes about 30-40 minutes to make and volunteers work in assembly lines, following instructions along the way.
“We need volunteers to make it happen, make the deliveries,” Cousins said.
That’s where the FSU players came in, spending a few hours to make sure that boys and girls across the Big Bend have a bed to sleep in each night. The need is even more critical since October, when Hurricane Michael made landfall near Panama City and also caused widespread damage through small towns less than an hour from the FSU campus.
Each bed costs about $350 to make, with some of that amount reduced through donations of lumber from local businesses.
“I would definitely do it again,” Morgan Jones said. “I don’t think it’s hard. The fact that you’re doing it for kids makes you want to do it even more.”
Future builds are planned at FSU Primary Health Facility on Aug. 17 and Saint Paul’s UMC on Sept. 14. More dates are planned through the fall.
And for those who think it may be too difficult, Ekhomu says that’s not the case at all. A fun, and rewarding, learning experience.
“When kids don’t have a bed, to be able to change that, it’s a blessing,” Ekhomu said.
For more information on Sleep in Heavenly Peace, go to shpbeds.org.