What sounded like a swarm of angry bees was the busy work from a hive of volunteers — sanding boards and assembling beds for local children in need — at Jockey International, 2300 60th St., on Friday.
In the next couple weeks, dozens of single beds and bunk beds will be delivered to local families.
“This is such a great event to be a part of,” said Jordan Winegar, a Jockey International marketing coordinator and volunteer. “I love that Jockey gives back to the community. It’s great that it’s impacting kids literally right next door to where we work.”
Jake McGhee, Jockey International vice president and chief philanthropy officer, said he contacted nearby Frank Elementary, 1816 57th St., and asked if any of the students are sleeping at home without beds.
Frank Elementary social worker Felicia Dalton quickly offered a list of 25 students.
“I know Felicia really well from my time working at the Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha,” McGhee said. “I wanted to call local schools and make sure these beds stay in our own backyard.”
What surprised McGhee was how many children are sleeping on the floor every night.
“If you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you’re grouchy … you’re not as productive as you need to be,” McGhee said. “How are you supposed to learn the next day? It’s just not happening.”
Dozens of volunteers from Jockey International, Sleep in Heavenly Peace and the community turned out on Friday to do the dirty work of sanding, cutting, drilling and assembling over 2,700 boards.
Each bed comes with a mattress, sheet set, pillows, comforter, a Jockey Being Family blanket and a teddy bear.
A long morning of manual labor is well worth it to see the smiles on the kids’ faces, according to Michael Prudhom, president of the Kenosha-Racine chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace.
“You can’t tell because I’m wearing a mask, but I have a Santa Claus face,” Prudhom said. “The first bed I ever delivered, the girl was riding her bike up and down the street waiting for us to arrive. She and her mom helped us carry everything up the stairs and put the bed together.
“We did that the day we built the beds. I was exhausted and emotionally drained. When I left there, I was weeping. It was such a wonderful experience.”
Prudhom said one family received five beds. The two youngest children climbed into their new beds and went to sleep at 10 a.m. on a Saturday.
One little boy who got a new bed, climbed underneath it and said he finally received the fort he always wanted.
“It’s a great thing,” Prudhom said.
Jockey International employees are paid up to 40 hours a year for their volunteer efforts, according to McGhee. A second round of bed-building will take place next Friday (Jan. 22) at Jockey International.