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Charlotte woman builds desks for students as part of National Build Joy Day

Taylor Morrison's initiative Build Joy gives back to communities across the country

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Lending a helping hand during this pandemic is exactly what Cristal Cox wanted to do after learning some students didn’t have everything necessary to complete their classwork while learning remotely.

So Cox turned to Taylor Morrison's initiative Build Joy

For the past three years, Taylor Morrison, one of America's largest home building companies, asks its employees to submit ideas on how to build joy in neighborhoods.

“With 2020 being a year unlike any other, we work to spread joy and inspiration to those who really need it," Taylor Morrison's vice president of sales Jodi Cantrell said. "This year was the first year [the program] has been nationally recognized."

Cox was selected out of dozens of people across the country to receive $1,000 to spread joy in Charlotte, no matter how big or small.

She decided to build desks using excess wood for students without them.

“As a builder, we just kind of trash so much wood, and I was thinking maybe there’s a way we can upcycle some of the 2x4s for desk legs, and sure enough, there was," Cox said.

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To get the word out, she posted to the Nextdoor app, and the community responded.

A teacher reached out on behalf of two of her students. A mother who is on disability said her daughter needs a space to do her schoolwork.

Cox said in less than two weeks, she was able to build 10 desks outside of working full time.

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“It just brought tears to my eyes, and it made my heart happy too," Cox said. "[It] definitely makes me want to keep going.”