ROSS TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A couple in Ross Township saw a story on the news about children needing desks to do their school work at home.
“I looked at Kate, and she was looking at me. And in unison, we said, ‘We gotta do that,’” said Glenn Smith.
At that moment, the home that he and his wife, Kate Neville, owned transformed into a workshop.
Smith found instructions on how to build a desk online. He never built one before.
“He’s just good at everything,” said Neville. “And I love to paint.”
They put the word out to their church group to see who wanted to help them make desks for children in the Pittsburgh area.
In a short amount of time, they raised $6,200, got a lot of donations and recruited 33 people who put in over 1,100 volunteer hours.
Over three months, they bought the wood. Smith sanded it, cut it, and put the desks together. Most of it was in their garage. Then, Neville and her friends would take over and paint them all different colors.
“We had fun with the colors! We did blues and greens and pinks and purples,” said Neville. “We did some black and yellows too.”
By the end of March, this couple and their friends had built 203 desks.
Through the help of community organizations, they identified children who needed them and even delivered some themselves.
“We could hear these girls screaming, ‘The desks are here.’ They were just screeching with joy!” said Neville.
“She was able to focus more and take her time with doing her work instead of the outside distractions,” said Edward Henderson.
He has a daughter at Pittsburgh King. The school asked parents if they would be interested in a desk for their children, and he jumped at the chance to get one for his daughter, Ziyonna.
Each desk came with a lamp, Ziyonna’s favorite part, and a chair.
“Thank you for the desk because it helps,” said Ziyonna.
The couple are still trying to decide if they’ll do it again in the fall, but they’re certain it’s a project they are glad they did.
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