Teacher is building thousands of desks after seeing kids don't have work spaces at home

"Somebody had to provide it and I thought, 'Why not me?'"

May 05, 2021, 4:00 AM

An Iowa teacher is building desks for students who are learning remotely during the pandemic.

In the fall, Nate Evans, a 7th grade literacy teacher from Ankeny, launched the project he calls Woodworking with a Purpose. He and 50-plus volunteers have built roughly 600 desks for kids after Evans noticed some were logged into virtual classes while sitting at kitchen tables or on their beds.

"It's for kids who have absolutely nothing to kids who have everything they've wanted but don't have this space because it wasn't available," Evans told "Good Morning America." "Somebody had to provide it and I thought, 'Why not me?'"

PHOTO: Nate Evans, a 7th grade literacy teacher from Ankeny, launched the project he calls Woodworking with a Purpose. He and 50-plus volunteers have built roughly 600 desks for kids.
Nate Evans, a 7th grade literacy teacher from Ankeny, launched the project he calls Woodworking with a Purpose. He and 50-plus volunteers have built roughly 600 desks for kids.
Nate Evans

Evans first paid for the supplies to build desks using money from his own pocket. But after posting his idea to Facebook, community donations started flooding in.

PHOTO: Nate Evans, a 7th grade literacy teacher from Ankeny, launched the project he calls Woodworking with a Purpose. He and 50-plus volunteers have built roughly 600 desks for kids. Each desk cost $20-$25 to make.
Nate Evans, a 7th grade literacy teacher from Ankeny, launched the project he calls Woodworking with a Purpose. He and 50-plus volunteers have built roughly 600 desks for kids. Each desk cost $20-$25 to make and are crafted in a storage unit or inside Evans' garage. Local educators then pick them up to distribute to students in the area.
Nate Evans

Evans and his team have a goal to make 2,020 desks (representing the year 2020) by the end of this school year. They're now trying to raise an additional $30,000 for materials.

PHOTO: Nate Evans, a 7th grade literacy teacher from Ankeny, launched the project he calls Woodworking with a Purpose. He and 50-plus volunteers have built roughly 600 desks for kids. Each desk cost $20-$25 to make.
Nate Evans, a 7th grade literacy teacher from Ankeny, launched the project he calls Woodworking with a Purpose. He and 50-plus volunteers have built roughly 600 desks for kids. Each desk cost $20-$25 to make and are crafted in a storage unit or inside Evans' garage. Local educators then pick them up to distribute to students in the area.
Nate Evans

Each desk costs $20-$25 to make and are built in a storage unit or inside Evans' garage.

Local educators then pick them up to distribute to students in the area.

PHOTO: Nate Evans, a 7th grade literacy teacher from Ankeny, launched the project he calls Woodworking with a Purpose. He and 50-plus volunteers have built roughly 600 desks for kids.
Nate Evans, a 7th grade literacy teacher from Ankeny, launched the project he calls Woodworking with a Purpose. He and 50-plus volunteers have built roughly 600 desks for kids.
Nate Evans

Evans recently held a community build day with Ankeny Christian Church where volunteers worked to make approximately 100 desks.

PHOTO: Nate Evans, a 7th grade literacy teacher from Ankeny, Iowa, launched the project he calls Woodworking with a Purpose.
Nate Evans, a 7th grade literacy teacher from Ankeny, Iowa, launched the project he calls Woodworking with a Purpose. He and 50-plus volunteers have built roughly 600 desks for kids after Evans noticed some were logged into virtual classes while sitting at kitchen tables or on their beds.
Nate Evans

"I became a teacher to help kids. That was it. It wasn't for the summer breaks," Evans said. "I volunteer wherever I can. I want to see them learn and grow ... learn and grow in my classroom ... I want to see them learn and grow at home too."

PHOTO: In the fall, Nate Evans, a 7th grade literacy teacher from Ankeny, launched the project he calls Woodworking with a Purpose. He and 50-plus volunteers have built roughly 600 desks for kids.
In the fall, Nate Evans, a 7th grade literacy teacher from Ankeny, launched the project he calls Woodworking with a Purpose. He and 50-plus volunteers have built roughly 600 desks for kids after Evans noticed some were logged into virtual classes while sitting at kitchen tables or on their beds. Evans first funded the supplies to build desks using money from his own pocket. But after posting his idea to Facebook, community donations started flooding in.
Nate Evans

Woodworking with a Purpose is a Core Cause through Core Foundation. Donations are tax deductible under the foundation’s 501(c)(3) non-profit status.  

Visit Woodworking with a Purpose on Facebook or Core Foundation to find out how to help.

Editor's note: This was originally published on Jan. 19, 2021.

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