NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — What started out as a request to build a couple-hundred desks for local school children, quickly turned into a bigger volunteer project for a Virginia Beach business.
During the fall, 10 On Your Side highlighted the collaboration between Premier Millwork and Children’s Health Investment Program of South Hampton Roads (CHIP) to get desks to students after CHIP employees noticed there was a need.
Kim Melnyk, who owns Premier Millwork with husband, says they were originally supposed to make only 200 desks. However, the operation grew. That’s how many they delivered on Thursday alone.
“We are doing 200 desks today but to date, we have made 2,000 desks for the Hampton Roads area,” she said.
Melnyk says they’ve also delivered desks to Title I schools in Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach, where she serves as the chairperson for Virginia Beach School Board.
The desks cost about $20 to make and Melnyk says they’ve received donations to continue making them to make sure students have a perfect space at home to learn.
“We have volunteers that help build them over the weekends and through donations and the generosity of the community, we’ve been able to keep this going,” she said.
Melnyk and Premier Millwork delivery driver Melvin White delivered desks to 12 additional schools on Thursday, including Crossroads School, where Dr. Kristen Nichols is principal.
“We work very hard to make sure our students have everything they need to be successful in the online environment but we can’t provide everything. So, having these desks go out to students who are sitting on their beds, sitting on the floor, completing their work while having their laptop on the floor, it gives them a better setting to have them perform better in a better situation,” she said.
Nichols says she’s appreciative of how students and staff have adapted to the pandemic and is also appreciative of the community’s help.
“Some families are going through some of the hardest times of their lives right now and it’s just amazing to know the community supports our students as we would. They’re giving more than we possibly thought they could,” she said.
Melnyk and White were both excited to be able to give back and say they’ll continue to do so as long as possible.