Charitable work gets Southern Idaho man featured on potato chip bag

Kimberly man chosen as one of Lay’s 30 Everyday Smilers
Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 12:10 PM MDT
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KIMBERLY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) -For the third year, the Lay’s Smiles bags will be decorating store shelves across the country, with up to $1 million in proceeds benefiting Operation Smile, and one of the smilers featured on the potato chip bags is a remarkable individual from Southern Idaho.

With people’s faces being hidden behind face masks, it’s nice to see a smile every once in a while, and this year, Lay’s potato chip bags will be featuring 30 Everyday Smilers from across the nation. They are also people who put smiles on other faces through their charitable work.

One of them is Luke Mickelson of Kimberly; he is the founder and executive director of Sleep in Heavenly Peace.

“Our mission statement is no child sleeps on the floor in our town,” Mickelson said.

Check out the rest of the folks highlighted in this year's #SmilewithLays campaign! We're honored to be a part of such a...

Posted by Sleep in Heavenly Peace on Wednesday, September 16, 2020

He said that when Sleep in Heavenly Peace started out of his garage about 8 years ago, it was going to be just this little Christmas project every year, but it has sprouted to more than 200 chapters across the United States in four countries, building more than 60,000 beds for children who are without one, with the help of more than 100,000 volunteers.

“There are no statistics out there for how many kids are sleeping on the floor," Mickelson said. “It’s really sad. The best statistics that we have is it’s somewhere between two and three percent of the population.”

The small-town country boy from Southern Idaho said he is honored and shocked to be featured on Lay’s potato chip bag, but it’s something he almost missed out on when he was nominated back in February.

“Smiles with Lay’s, I don’t understand that? I almost deleted the email. I didn’t know what it was,” Mickelson said with a smile and a laugh.

Luckily he didn’t and was eventually chosen to be the featured Smiler on the cheddar and sour cream bag.

“We were betting on which one it was," he said. “I love salt and vinegar, but cheddar and sour cream is probably my second favorite.”

Mickelson said due to COVID-19, he and the other 30 Smilers weren’t able to go Dallas for the photoshoot to promote the bags they are featured on, so they had to do them remotely from their houses or place of business.

“So I got this big box in the mail, and in the box, there was this little boom mic, camera phone, just a little tiny studio,” Mickelson said.

He said he shot the smile people will see on the bag with his own camera, and he was able to display a perfect smile for camera the by reciting the alphabet.

“And we are pretty convinced this is the E,” Mickelson said while holding up the potato chip bag with his smile on it while laughing.

On the back of the cheddar and sour cream bag is a brief bio about Mickelson and a QR code people can scan to learn more about his charitable cause. He thinks being able to be one of the featured Smilers will spread a lot of awareness about child “bedlessness.”

“It’s one that people either dismiss or they don’t believe," he said. “I can’t tell you how times I say we build beds for kids that don’t have beds.”

To apply for a bed with Sleep in Heavenly Peace people just need to simply fill out an application on the website, and the criteria is ages three to 17. The recipient also has to live to be within the geographical location of where the chapter president has agreed to deliver to.

Mickelson said Sleep Heavenly Peace supplies everything for the family and child in need: bed, mattress, sheets and pillows.

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