Collect To Connect: WBTV partners with E2D to collect old computers to help families in need

Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 7:01 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - WBTV is partnering with E2D - Eliminate the Digital Divide - to give computers to families in need. E2D estimates around 16,000 households in Mecklenburg County lack a computer because of finances.

E2D started seven years ago to help fill the void. The group collects old computers, scrubs them then refurbishes them before handing out to families in need.

Seven years ago former CMS student Aryana McCain received a computer. She lacked one in the home and says it was tough being a CMS student during that time.

“CMS is such a technology-based school,” McCain said. “That it’s like, if you don’t have access to WiFi or a laptop, you’re more than likely not going to get your work done. So say I had a project or I had to do work - I would have to stay after school or I’d have to use my lunchtime to use the computers at school because I wouldn’t have access to it at home.”

McCain says not only did the computer help her but it also helped her younger sister and her mother.

She graduated and is now a freshman at North Carolina A&T University majoring in marketing. She says students lacking a computer is not just found also on the college level.

“I know people who are in college who don’t have laptops,” McCain said. “They have to use loaners from the school.”

Pat Millen is President/Co-Founder of E2D. He says recently there was an event to give out 400 computers to families in need. The heartbreaking thing was he had to turn away about 800 families.

“It’s the kind of thing that keeps me awake at night,” Millen said. “Knowing that there are people out there that still are not being served that still don’t have this opportunity. And I think it’s the kind of thing that makes E2D a strong organization because we’re not going to sleep well until we know that we’ve solved this digital inequity.”

Millen is happy to partner with WBTV to help give relief to families. He believes the community can make a difference.

“If Charlotte can work together to help these folks rise up using digital tools to make themselves successful,” Millen said. “It’s only good for the community. There’s no downside. There’s only upside.”

McCain hopes more families can get a computer. She knows how much it helped her succeed.

“When you don’t have that kind of access at home,” McCain said. “You become very limited, very limited.”

If you have an old computer and would like to donate, WBTV and E2D will have a Collect to Connect Drop-off taking place on Giving Tuesday.

It happens on Dec. 1 at the North Carolina Music Factory - 920 Hamilton Street Charlotte, North Carolina.

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