Student, University Volunteers Build 44 Beds for Community Children in Need

The number 44 holds a special significance on the Syracuse University campus, and in true University fashion, 44 children in the City of Syracuse will soon receive new beds and bedding—some for the first time—through a project that has touched the hearts and hands of several dozen University students, staff and organizational volunteers.

SHP-Syracuse volunteers Dave Hoalcraft, left, a retired University employee and Jeff Pitt, right, a current employee, worked with SUVO president and student Claire Ceccoli to lead the project.

The 108 volunteers gathered on Feb. 23 at Skybarn on South Campus for a three-hour workshop to sand, drill and assemble wooden bunk beds. The group included 86 University students, 11 staff, faculty and retirees, plus 11 other members of the Syracuse chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP).

SHP, whose mantra is “No Kid Sleeps on the Floor in Our Town,” is one of 270 chapters nationwide. The organization’s mission is to build and deliver new beds and bedding to children who may have been sleeping on a couch or the floor, and who, in many cases, have never had a bed of their own.

The Syracuse SHP group has partnered with the Shaw Center for Public and Community Service—the University’s hub for academic community engagement—for several years. Though the chapter has built and delivered 4,564 beds to Syracuse-area children since it began in 2018, 870 kids are still on the waitlist. SHP leaders say 76% of the beds built here will go to children who live within two miles of campus.

Friday’s event was organized by Syracuse University Volunteer Organization (SUVO) president Claire Ceccoli ’25, a dual public relations and psychology major from Norwalk, Ohio. She says this is the first time in a decade that SUVO has initiated a large-scale volunteer project, and it’s one that seemed to resonate with everyone who heard about it.