Lowe’s donates laptops for students to end the digital divide

Updated: Aug. 15, 2020 at 10:38 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Remote learning means school supply lists look different this year for many Charlotte Mecklenburg students.

A must-have on those lists? Computers. But not all families can afford to make that investment.

One organization is stepping in to help.

The people behind E2D, or Eliminate the Digital Divide, found a way to get those devices in students’ hands for much less.

E2D refurbished laptops donated by Lowe’s Home Improvement to sell to families for $75. Lowe’s also donated money for the cause so that families only had to pay $25 to get a laptop for their child.

Monday marks a new school year for Charlotte-Mecklenburg students. Students will learn while remote and hundreds of parents had no idea how their kids were supposed to sign on -- because they don’t have computers at home.

“So, it’s never been more important. Every family in Charlotte has to have a computer and the internet in their home in order to be successful,” said Pat Millen of E2D.

That’s why the parking lot of Avid Exchange Music Factory was packed Saturday. It’s where E2D sold this year’s refurbished laptops to families.

One woman who was there to purchase a laptop struggled to hold back tears as she explained how she was having to decide whether to put gas in her car to go to work or buy a laptop for her kids.

“There are many people here who don’t have the money. I just received a check. I hadn’t got a check since June. It was less than $250 so I was trying to figure out...I know I needed the computer, but the blessing that I received once getting here was unbelievable,” the woman said.

All of the 400 laptops sold were donated by Lowe’s Home Improvement, which has headquarters in Mooresville. The company has teamed up with E2D since 2013 to end the digital divide and so all students have access to class and can learn without any issues.

“It’s important for us to show up and help in the communities that we operate,” said Randy Alexander of Lowe’s.

Millen, who founded E2D, says he would love it if other businesses want to pay it forward to help more families by donating any old company laptops.

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