Although the digital divide has been present in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for decades, the need for computers has never been greater as local families struggle to access devices and the internet during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic, students, families, and individuals without access to a home device visited libraries, schools, and physical workspaces to complete their homework, pay their bills, and apply for critical services such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Due to the spread of COVID-19, locations like these have closed to reduce the spread of the virus and maintain the health and safety of the communities they serve. However, the need for computers didn’t go away.
That’s why in late March, Computer Reach partnered with The Education Partnership to identify families and students in need of technology to fulfill their virtual learning assignments. During this process, our organizations identified over 500 Pittsburgh families that were or still are in need of access. All of these families include students who attend schools that are not sufficiently funded. To support these families and get them connected, Computer Reach created the Desktop Take Out Program.
Desktop Take Out Program
Thanks to the generous financial support of the Pittsburgh Foundation, Computer Reach was able to establish the Desktop Take Out Program in April 2020 to efficiently refurbish and distribute technologies to Pittsburgh families in need. In April alone, Computer Reach distributed 200 free Desktop Bundles to families, with each bundle including a desktop computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and all necessary cords to operate the machine.
Now, Computer Reach is facilitating another desktop distribution to reach the remaining 300+ families that were identified through our work with The Education Partnership. However, our organization is only able to distribute 50 Desktop Bundles at a time as our in-house supply of technologies is limited. As Computer Reach continues to build our stock through technology donations from individuals and organizations, we hope to increase the number of Bundles we are able to distribute at one time.
How You Can Help
Our goal is to ensure that every family in Pittsburgh has access to a computer at home. However, we can’t do it alone. If you are interested in supporting our local efforts to bridge the digital divide, please consider donating technology or a financial contribution to reinforce our work. By doing so, you streamline our organization’s ability to get technology in the hands of those who need it most.
If you’re interested in submitting a donation, please visit our Donate page to learn more.