By Dan Koob

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — A South Jersey man is making virtual school more comfortable for students in his community. Welcome to Justin Foley’s workshop.

“I wanted to use this equipment for something good,” Foley said.

It’s a wood worker’s wonderland that he’s put to good use. Foley is building homemade desks for school children around Cherry Hill.

“I’ve probably built close to 40 so far, with the next batch probably closer to 50,” Foley said.

Foley can put one together in two hours. He originally stumbled on a similar project on Reddit.

He began combing through designs until he found the perfect one.

“It’ll be about 30 inches long and I’ll cut the angles on the miter saw,” Foley said. “The part that takes the longest are the legs. The pine boards aren’t great at first, so we do a lot of sanding, drilling the holes, and stuff like that.

He posted the finished pieces online and gave them away.

Word has spread about the South Jersey Saint Nick providing desks for families enduring virtual learning, and now he can’t keep them on the curb. So he started a GoFundMe simply to pay for the raw materials.

It’s raised almost $3,000.

“To me, it’s a desk. It’s a piece of wood, but to someone else who doesn’t have it, it has changed their whole structure of online learning,” Foley said.

Now he spends most of his free time in his garage, building desks and preparing to give them away.

“Because I want to? I don’t want people to have a burden. They already have enough going on as is. This year has been terrible and I want to make their lives a little bit easier,” Foley said.

Foley says he was sitting at his own desk the other day when the phone rang. On the other end was New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy who thanked him for what he was doing. Foley says he’ll continue making desks until the demand is gone.


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