When Mitchell Couch sat down for dinner with his family one night in early September, he couldn’t help but feel stressed about the textbooks, binders and pencils strewn around the kitchen after a long day of distance learning for his four children.
After dinner, the 44-year-old from Lemoore, California, decided enough was enough with the intermingling of school and family time. He drove to the store and spent $50 on enough supplies to build two desks.
“Within a couple of hours, two of my kids had their own place to store their supplies and focus on school,” Couch told CNN.
Couch posted a photo of his accomplishments and it spread across social media.
“We started getting so many messages from people who wanted to build their own desks too, but didn’t know how to assemble the wood,” Couch said. “So, I decided to make a YouTube video with step-by-step instructions in order to help as many people as possible.”
A couple days later as word continued to spread, the local grocery outlet offered to fund the supplies if Couch could build desks for other students in the school district who needed their own space to learn.
Couch happily agreed and one week later – with the help of his family – he had built 40 desks.
As the requests continue to pour in through social media, the Couch family has set up a GoFundMe account so they can keep supplying desks through the local schools in their district.
“We heard from teachers that the kids who have their own space to learn do so much better with distance learning,” Couch said after a parent teacher conference earlier this year. “It’s so much easier to separate home and school life that way. When you’re done with school, you can leave the desk and come eat at the kitchen table.”
Couch, who works full-time as a building inspector for the city of Corcoran, says the messages of gratitude from teachers, parents, students and grandparents are what keep him going.
“If I can help the community get through this pandemic with some wood and nails, you bet I will keep at this,” he said.