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'I've gotten thousands of messages:' Dad builds desks for students who need them

The former carpenter wants to make virtual learning a little easier amid the coronavirus pandemic.
/ Source: TODAY

A big-hearted dad in Lemoore, California, wants every child in his community to have their own work station.

Mitchell Couch, a former carpenter and father of four, has assembled dozens of desks for low-income students who are struggling with remote learning amid the coronavirus epidemic.

Couch, 44, told TODAY Parents that the project was inspired by his kids after they took over the kitchen table earlier this month. Public schools in Couch's area are all-virtual until further notice.

“They were trying to work across from each other and their books were all over the place. It was a mess,” Couch said. “So I decided to build them each a desk.”

The small change had a big impact.

“Right away, my wife and I noticed they were more focused,” Couch revealed.

Wanting to help other families, Couch made a YouTube video instructing others on how to DIY a folding desk for roughly $20.

Shortly after uploading the clip, Couch was contacted by the owners of the Grocery Outlet, a discount supermarket chain. Would Couch be interested in building desks for students in need if they paid for the materials?

“Of course, I loved the idea,” Couch said.

Couch has crafted 40 desks since the beginning of the month and hopes to bang out 50 more.

"People are begging for desks," Couch said. "I've gotten thousands of messages."

Dr. Deborah Gilboa, a family physician and resilience expert, told TODAY Parents that a desk serves as a reminder about expectations.

"Even in a small space, a desk gives you a place that when you sit there, it says 'school,'" Gilboa explained. "It's sort of like how some kids change clothes before gym class. Changing what you're wearing or where you are physically reminds you of your purpose."