Amery couple, Dennis and Cathy Gille wanted to make a difference during COVID, little did they know how much their kind gesture would spread.
The Gilles said they saw an article in the Turtle Lake Times about desks being donated by Infinity Retail Services, a Turtle Lake manufacturer. One of Infinity Retail Services’ engineers saw an article on a firm that had manufactured and donated desks and he asked for permission to do the same. He then designed a desk, created assembly instructions and put it into manufacturing for the specific purpose of donating them. At the time, there was a lot of discussion about how difficult it was for students trying to learn at home. The Gilles thought it was a great idea to provide families with an affordable way to give their children a desk on which to do their remote learning.
Beyond seeing the article in the paper, the Gilles know Kevin and Wendy Jansen, officers of Infinity Retail Services and reached out to see if Infinity would be interested in selling desks to them so they could distribute them the way they had.
The Gilles were told the 125 desks would total $6,000 to purchase.
They first reached out to the school to see if they could help with locating families who could use the desks. When the school was unable to help, they reached out to Wayne and Laura Busse, both retired Amery schoolteachers. They indicated that they would be happy to reach out to teachers for names of students who they thought would benefit. Laura also indicated that through her Journey Church volunteering she would be able to connect with families in need. Gille Trucking & Excavating provided a truck and trailer to go to Turtle Lake to pick up the desks when Infinity Retail Services let them know they were ready. The desks were delivered to Journey Church where Wayne and Laura had assembled people to help unload them and help bring them into their storage area. Wayne and Laura then set up a distribution team and sent out messages to let people know they could come to Journey Church parking lot on a Saturday morning to pick up desks for their children. Wayne put together a couple of the desks to show recipients what they would look like when assembled.
When it came time for payment, the Gilles called Kevin to find out where to send the check, he asked that we instead send the check for $6,000 to the Turtle Lake Food Pantry. “Yes, the Turtle Lake Food Pantry,” said Cathy.
Later, Gille Trucking & Excavating donated $1,100 in work to the Turtle Lake Food Pantry on the new food pantry-building project in Turtle Lake.