We all know that the impact of COVID-19 continues to be far-reaching and deep. The pandemic made existing challenges even greater for many of our communities. Unemployment, hunger, and mental health have been among those challenges. And at the top of the list for families and children alike is school.
Within weeks of the first cases in our region, entire school districts were forced to shift to a virtual model. Students lost daily connection with friends and teachers, the physical benefits of play and sports, and for some even nutrition was compromised, like children who rely on the steadiness of school breakfast and lunch. Many students also lacked safe, organized places for learning with basics such as school supplies and yes—desks. One of our team members worked with some local business owners to change that for a few students, and he’s not quite done yet.
When Jason Wennet, Senior Creative Manager, is not spending time with his family or creating engaging marketing and advertising to draw more members to KP, he is an avid “Do-it- Yourselfer” (DIYer). In his free time (no longer having a 3-hour commute added 5-6 hours of productivity into his day), you might find him working on his hardwood floors or adding a bathroom—nothing complicated, right? As the pandemic pressed on, Jason put his DIY skills to work for local students.
Jason started to build desks in his home workshop. Working with up-cycled pallets and crates generously donated by Tom Hamlin, the owner of Laboratory Relocation Specialists (LRS) in Halethorpe, Maryland, Jason found a way to use materials that would have gone to waste. Tom, a longtime Baltimore resident liked the idea and he was glad to support it.
“We’re based in Baltimore and we’ve been here for more than 15 years…we like to give back to the community as much as we can and it’s great to be a part of this project,” said Tom. “We’re providing the supplies, but Jason is doing the real work.”
With the resources from LRS, Jason delivered 18 desks to students in Baltimore, all made by his own hand. Many of the students are currently involved with the PTECH program, to encourage students to pursue careers in technology and science, and the Future Baltimore initiative, which is aimed at improving social conditions in local communities.
After one of his deliveries, Jason teamed up with Felicia Taylor (pictured at left). One of Felicia’s children received a desk. Felicia leaned in to let other families know about this resource and to help make arrangements for more students to receive a desk. She also coordinated the donation of a few extra desks from Future Baltimore partner, Bon Secours Health System.
Thank you, Jason, Tom, and Felicia for pulling together to make this possible. It takes a village to make a difference.
If you know a student in the Baltimore area, who needs as desk for this school year, please email firstname.lastname@example.org directly. Requests are not guaranteed as they are limited by the availability of materials and the time Jason has to build more.