Volunteer Builds Desks for Students Stuck at Home
NHCO Blog/Jeff Geissler/Communications Coordinator
A grandmother who unexpectedly gained custody of her two grandchildren did not have desks to use for homeschooling. When she came to our food pantry, she learned NHCO was distributing desks built by one of our volunteers.
“She was thrilled. She responded right away and was really happy to have gotten them for her two elementary age grandkids,” said Natalie Klaum, NHCO Allison Park Team Leader.
The pandemic brought many sudden and unexpected needs. With students homeschooling, a suitable learning space was a necessity some of our clients did not have. They were studying on their beds, sitting on the floor, or just making do with what they had.
“That’s not a good way to try to learn. Things are difficult enough. It’s a horrible, horrible situation the way kids are having to go to school now. This is just something to try to make it a little easier for the students,” said NHCO Volunteer Glenn Smith.
Last fall Glenn saw a news story about someone who made school desks for students who could not afford one.
“I looked at my wife, and she was looking at me, and I said we got to do that,” he remembered.
With help from friends and Google, Glenn, whose background is in sales, learned what it takes to make an inexpensive yet suitable student desk.
He is also part of a volunteer group at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, an organization that works very closely with NHCO. An announcement in the church’s bulletin advertised the project and helped raise funds and recruit volunteers. He soon had 39 financial donors and 32 volunteers, contributing a total of 1100 hours of work. Local businesses donated paint, lumber, and screws.
Most of the construction took place at Glenn’s home with some duties, including sanding, happening at other homes. His wife Kate was in charge of painting. Each desk came with a store-bought folding chair and desk lamp.
“When we would deliver the desks, that was where we got our thanks. Just hearing the excitement of some of the kids,” Glenn said. “Just to hear some of the little kids get so excited when they see the desks. And to think that they have their own work station that they can call their own.”
NHCO was one of a few organizations that distributed the desks to those who needed one. We told our food pantry clients about the project and quickly gathered interest. The students varied in age from elementary to high school. One family who had three adopted teenage girls with special needs was very grateful for the desks.
“It was nice to see the kids excited to see their new desks,” said NHCO Sharing Projects Coordinator Vicki Burstynowicz, who helped deliver the desks. “And there was one, I don’t know if it was dad or stepdad, but the girl was a teenager and he was glad she would have a clean space to do her homework instead of in her messy room.”