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Yorktown man is making free desks for kids to use at home, during virtual learning

The desks are provided at no cost to families, so Mike Arndt needs the community's help to keep the initiative going.

YORKTOWN, Va. — With COVID cases on the rise across Hampton Roads, a lot of school districts are deciding to keep kids out of the classroom and stick with virtual learning.

Yorktown man, Mike Arndt is hoping to make things a little easier for parents by giving away free, hand-made, wooden desks.

Arndt has worked with wood, nearly his entire life.

“Really from the age of 15 on, I’ve been doing it," he said. "Me and my dad, we built our home that I lived in most of my teenage years, when I was 15.”

He’s a veteran and started his own shop called True North Wood Working back in 2018 to make money after his wife was diagnosed with leukemia.

Now, he spends his free time making free desks for kids to use during virtual learning.

RELATED: Virginia teachers’ union pushes for all-online instruction through January

It all started after he overheard two women at the grocery store, discussing how their kids didn’t have any space for virtual learning at home.

“We were trying to help guys and gals in our immediate area, but I’ve had people from Newport News contact me, I’ve had people from all over and I don’t want to say no to anybody," he said.

“A lady sent me a picture with her daughter sitting on the floor on a blanket, with her computer sitting on the floor, her snacks, her books, and she’s just sitting there trying to bend down and look at this computer screen that’s sitting on the floor and I thought, man that’s just terrible. There’s no way a kid can learn like that."

Arndt has made 30 desks in about a month, at no charge to families. So, unfortunately, funds are beginning to dry up. It cost him about $30 from his own pocket to make one desk.

RELATED: US public school enrollment dips as coronavirus disrupts education

“So far we’ve spent about $800 making 30 desks and I have a waiting list that’s growing," Arndt said. "The little bit of money I had set aside for the project and donations, we burned through that in the first 30 desks.”

To donate money to help make desks, Arndt asks that you use PayPal to send money to arndtmp@hotmail.com.

Arndt said he will also accept the necessary wood supplies. You can contact him on his Facebook page or via e-mail at arndtmp@hotmail.com if you want to donate.

If your child needs a desk, you can also contact him on Facebook.

"It's making a change in these kids' lives and the parents - it's helping them," Arndt said. “It’s been great. I hope I can continue to make desks.”