KANSAS CITY, Mo — Staff at Connecting For Good have been working around the clock for the past few weeks, ensuring families and schools have the computers they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nonprofit works to provide internet access and technology equipment for the metro's most at risk families.
"The crisis both nationally and globally has helped people realize that there’s so many people who don’t have the ability to stay connected at home," Connecting for Good CEO, Tom Esselman said. "And so we’ve been doing more than ever to provide computers to low income families who otherwise can’t afford it."
The team has been working with school district administrators, charter schools and housing communities, like the Housing Authority of Kansas City, Missouri.
For Marshell Parris, receiving a computer for both her and her son has been one less worry.
"It’s very beneficial because I need my main priority is my son and I don’t have to worry about traveling and worrying about how I was going to get that computer so I could work from home. But the opportunity presented itself to me so I’m grateful for that," Parris said.
Last week, the organization delivered 36 computers to Amethyst Place. Hundreds of other computers were donated to KIPP charter schools, Genesis Charter School and Hogan Prep Academy. They were subsidized through grants.
"It’s really been a big outpouring of essential work to help make sure people don’t feel isolated, and when it comes to students, families that have elderly, they can stay connected to the vital resources that they need," Esselman said.
Esselman does encourage families to look at the hot spot capability on smartphones.
"A lot of families think that they might not have WiFi but most of our families have smart phones," he said. "There’s a personal hot spot capability on almost everybody’s cell phone, and right now, most of the cellular providers are waiving data caps so you can turn your smart phone into a hot spot."
The nonprofit stated as of Thursday morning, Kansas City will need closes to 10,000 computers to fill the need for the most at risk families.
"We think within a few weeks we ought to be able to put a pretty good dent in getting that number of computers out to people," Esselman said.
Once computers are donated to the organization, the staff works to wipe any and all data off the hard drives. The team then reimages and reloads the hard drives.
Right now, the organization is in high demand for computers. If you are interested in donating or are in need of a computer, you can call Connecting for Good at 816.559.7077 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.