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Virginia business builds hundreds of free desks for elementary students

Posted at 8:49 AM, Sep 04, 2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.— The new virtual school year comes with challenges for many students, but one nonprofit is teaming up with a Virginia Beach business to help give kids the space they need to succeed.

“When children have a place to sit down and learn, they’re going to do much better,” said George Melnyk Jr., President of Premier Millwork and Lumber Company.

Melnyk’s wife, Kim, is a Virginia Beach School Board member. They decided to take on a project to make desks for CHIP, a child readiness non-profit advocacy program.

“They’re going primarily to low-income homes, kids that just need a desk,” said Trish O’Brien, President of CHIP of South Hampton Roads.

Machines and manpower are churning out the pieces that will become desks for hundreds of CHIP families.

There’s no hardware, no tools, just four pieces that easily interlock in under a minute to create a temporary space that a child can call their own at no cost to mom and dad.

“At the end of the day, they can disassemble them, slide them under the couch, stick them in the closet, put them away for the weekend, and then the next day, put them back together and be ready to work,” said Melnyk.

Each desk cost $19.50 to build thanks to employees who are donating their time to keep labor costs at zero.

Last Saturday, the crew built 110 desks. They plan to finish up with another 110 desks over the weekend so that CHIP can give them away to families.

Melnyk raised funds to build the first 220 desks, but CHIP hopes more people will consider helping the program grow.

Anyone interested in donating to help build more desks can call 757-5439-100 or go online to

This story was originally published by Kofo Lasaki at WTKR.