Anika Gerl: Making Beds, Bringing Joy to Refugees


Frannie Wied, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Anika Gerl, a junior at Notre Dame Academy, has been dedicating her time to making beds for Afgan refugees in the Green Bay area.

Gerl has been involved with an organization called Sleep in Heavenly Peace, which was introduced to her by her dad. She was connected with a refugee family through the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Green Bay.

“My dad originally suggested going to a bed assemble with him, and after that, I wanted to get more and more involved,” said Gerl.

The making of these beds is a long and strenuous process. It starts with what’s called a “bed build,” where volunteers are gathered to build the bed from scratch. This includes every meticulous detail, from sanding the beds to burning the organization’s logo into the wood.

After this is completed, another group of volunteers goes to the home of the family and assembles the bed. Finally, they put the finishing touches on–making the bed with sheets, pillows and blankets, all donated items.

Gerl says that there are many challenges that come with doing such volunteer work. While it is such a rewarding experience, it can still be hard to watch families go through difficult times.

“It’s definitely a feel-good work, but it also was hard to see these kids and families living in such conditions,” said Gerl.

Even with these struggles, she still finds reward through this selfless work.

“The biggest reward is seeing how happy this work makes the kids and families and seeing how they light up while receiving their beds,” said Gerl.