Kreg Tool employee Nicole Scilingo, senior content specialist, builds a desk for “Woodworking with a Purpose,” a nonprofit started by an Ankeny schoolteacher to build desks for students learning remotely. Photo submitted by Kreg Tool.

Employees of Kreg Tool built 250 desks last week for “Woodworking with a Purpose,” a nonprofit started by an Ankeny Middle School teacher to build desks for students in need in Central Iowa.

The goal of the program, created by middle school teacher Nate Evans, is to build 2,020 desks by the end of this school year. To date, more than 1,800 desks have been built and Evans said he expects to reach his goal by mid-April.

Evans, a married father of four who teaches literacy at Ankeny Middle School, started the desk-building campaign six months ago to help students who were learning remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials with Kreg Tool, which will be moving from Huxley to Ankeny later this year, said when they learned of the project, the company's philanthropic arm, Kreg Cares, donated money, tools and supplies for their employees to build 250 desks.

“Through this cause, we are helping to enhance the environment children are learning in, which is paramount to their success,” Kreg Tool CEO Todd Sommerfeld said.

Evans has worked with Virginia-based Core Foundation, a group that provides technical, legal and other support for other organizations.

So far, area home supply and hardware stores, other businesses and organizations have contributed materials and cash donations to the project, he said.

Evans said the desks will be an important part of students’ education even after they return to the classroom full time, especially for families who can’t afford to buy a desk for their child at home.

“It’s huge for any kid to have that space to grow and learn,” he said. “Every kid needs their own space. For some families it might work to sit at the kitchen table while someone makes dinner, but that’s not the reality for so many families, and to have their own space, their area where their school work goes, where they charge their Chromebook, where they can do their homework, that’s important.”