Update on computers given last month during WBTV’s Collect To Connect

Computer donations helping families in need

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - WBTV is continuing to work to help tear down the technology divide in Mecklenburg County.

WBTV will partner again with E2D (Eliminate the Digital Divide) for Collect to Connect. It will take place Tuesday, January 12 at NC Music Factory from Noon to 6 p.m.

Last month, the community responded in a great way concerning this assignment. The community donated more than 750 computers so families in need can be able to afford a working computer inside their homes.

Pat Millen, the Founder and President of E2D, says the more than 750 computers collected last month have either been processed and ready for distribution or still being worked on. He says some of the computers will be ready to hand out by the end of January.

“We know it’s a game-changer,” Millen said. “Because we see people literally openly weeping when they are getting their computers. The joy is so immense because they know all the things they can now do - because they didn’t have a computer.”

Millen says no computer collected will go to waste.

“Every computer that we can get in here refurbished and get out,” Millen said. “Has the potential to save lives forever.”

Millen says even the computers that are not in working condition can still be used for their parts. The first thing that was done to the computers was clearing them of all personal information.

“For every hard drive,” he said. “We get in and actually run a program off it that will zero out that hard drive - get rid of 100% of that data.”

The more than 750 computers collected last month will make a difference. It will allow students and families to be get connected to opportunities like colleges, scholarships, employment, and finding affordable housing.

“The average home,” Millen said. “They’re about 3.2 people per home that will use that computer - so 700 to 750 computers equals over 2000 people getting access to computers and the people we deal with are the ones that are very often getting their first-ever computer at home.”

E2D uses Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District and other organizations to identify families in need. Families will pay $75 for the computer - a computer that’s worth hundreds of dollars.

“They have skin in the game,” Millen said. “By virtue, they are making a contribution.”

Students who are homeless do not have to worry about that cost. Every time there is a distribution event - E2D says there are people they have to turn away. The need is great.

“I am actually optimistic that within the next couple of years,” Millen said. “Everyone in Charlotte is going to have a computer.”

If you received new technology for Christmas - Collect to Connect will be the perfect way to donate your old computer to help families.

We will collect your computers at NC Music Factory 920 Hamilton Street Charlotte, NC from Noon to 6 PM.

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