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Sometimes my boss, Idaho Press Publisher Matt Davison, gets a wild idea about a new project or initiative we should try. While I admire his passion and enthusiasm, I sometimes have to be the downer who brings in a dose of reality of what’s actually doable.

This latest idea, though, has come together really beautifully, thanks to a lot of people who were quick to jump in and help.

In a recent story, Idaho Press staff and readers talked about the hobbies we’ve started this year to pass time during the pandemic. Matt’s hobby was woodworking.

A teacher who read the story reached out to Matt saying students who are learning from home while schools are closed really need desks so they have a quiet, dedicated work space. Kitchen tables are often too noisy and busy for siblings to all work from, she said; one student resorted to using a stool during his writing lesson because he had no other hard surface to use. The teacher wondered if Matt could help.

Matt, always one to dream big, didn’t settle for building a few desks in his woodshop. He reached out to local developer CBH Homes, which donated enough wood glue, lumber and hardware for 300 desks.

Matt invited our readers to stop by our Nampa office on Dec. 21 to pick up the materials to take home and return the finished desks by Jan. 4.

When I showed up for work that day, a long line of cars snaked around the building. It even stopped traffic for a while until Matt redirected it. Our readers saw a need and they showed up in droves. Over 100 volunteers have committed to building 500 desks for students, including some who plan to use their own materials. I am so moved by this response.

When I came to work this week, two finished desks sat in the lobby, including one that’d been painted lavender. Some lucky kids are going to be so excited! It’ll be a bright spot in an unpredictable and isolating year.

Thank you to our readers for showing up in such a big way for students. And thank you to CBH Homes for your donation that made this all possible.

“It takes a village when working to help the community,” CBH spokeswoman Holly Haener said. “You need resources and a network to tap into.”

And to Matt, even though some of your ideas make me tired, I’ll give you kudos for this one. This was a special way to cap off a difficult year.

Holly Beech is the managing editor of the Idaho Press. She grew up in Nampa and joined the Idaho Press as a reporter after graduating from Northwest Nazarene University in 2011. You can reach her at hbeech@idahopress.com

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