Industry Rallies to Support Woodworking Teachers and Students During Pandemic

Society of Wood Manufacturing Organizes Massive Donation Program

Industry Rallies to Support Woodworking Teachers and Students During Pandemic

In July, the Society of Wood Manufacturing (SWM), a Southern California industry-education focused group, identified a challenge that many high school woodworking teachers would soon face as the new school year began: how to teach woodworking while students are distance learning due to the pandemic. SWM decided to reallocate their budget and resources towards helping as many teachers and students as they could in this new, challenging educational environment. Three main issues were identified in which SWM could provide support: procuring wood materials for students, securing tools and supplies for students, and assisting teachers in preparing the materials and tool kits.

Companies Answered the Call to Help Schools

SWM, a chapter of Association of Woodworking & Furnishing Suppliers® (AWFS®), requested donations of materials and supplies from AWFS® member companies, and companies responded to the call quickly and generously. It was not long before donations began arriving. SWM and AWFS® thank the following companies for their generous donations:

First truckload of wood materials donated by Royal Plywood and Roseburg Forrest Products for high school students.

Royal Plywood: two trucks of hardwood and panel material

Roseburg Forest Products: lumber and a financial contribution

Bessey Tools: spring clamps

EB Bradley: sandpaper, glue bottles, safety glasses

WEIMA: cutting tools

Rubio Monocoat: individual bottles of finish

Colonial Saw: Lamello glue bottles

Franklin Adhesives: Titebond wood glue

Kemp Hardware: drawer hardware

SkillsUSA CA State Director Clay Mitchell: financial contribution

SWM: tape measures

In total, SWM collected and distributed about $60,000 in donated wood materials and supplies from the woodworking industry. In addition, SWM awarded nineteen $500 grants to California woodworking teachers to use towards distance learning supplies.

Of the donations, AWFS® member company Royal Plywood of Cerritos, California contributed over $50,000 in materials. Arriving in two flatbed trucks, it included laminated panels and multiple species of hardwood for high school woodworking programs throughout the region. They also shipped materials from Roseburg Forest Products in Oregon. Dave Golling, Vice President of Business Development at Royal Plywood said, “We are just thrilled that we could help out the local high school students by donating some of the materials we have in stock. We think this is a great program and will make a real difference for the woodworking teachers and students.”

Southern California woodworking instructors loading up donated materials.

SWM received so much material from Royal Plywood and Roseburg that the program was expanded to support any woodworking instructor in Southern California. Woodworking teachers were allowed to load their trucks and trailers with as much wood as they could safely transport back to their schools. “Never in my 23 plus years teaching woodshop have I ever seen or met people so willing and able to help me and my students like you guys are,” said Matt Gilmour, woodworking instructor at Gabrielino High School.

SWM President Organized Distribution and Worked with Teachers Directly

SWM President Saúl Martín, who is also Vice President of Manufacturing at Architectural Woodworking Company (AWC), volunteered to cut and distribute wood materials for the teachers. He worked with several different instructors to help develop complete woodworking kits to be sent home to students. He then cut over 20,000 pieces of poplar for students to use to frame model houses and make model furniture following plans developed by the teachers. Martín opened AWC to the teachers on three separate Saturdays to let them load as much free wood as they could take. “SWM wanted to do something that would impact as many woodworking students as possible”, says Martín. “This was when the teachers really needed some help from industry to boost their woodworking program.”

In total, the efforts of SWM and AWFS member companies are expected to impact well over 1,000 woodworking students from twenty-five high school programs in Southern California.

If you would like to learn more about SWM and get involved, contact AWFS® Education Manager Adam Kessler, or (323) 215-0312.

To see more photos from this donation process click here:

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