Closing the digital divide was serious work before COVID-19. Now it is imperative. While the effects of the coronavirus may be seen for some time and Americans isolate themselves at home, those without computers and internet service are cut off from essential services, learning and work, and family and friends.

The need is extreme. For example, it would take at least 5,000 computers to meet the needs of the most at-risk families in metro Kansas City, and more to help nonprofits struggling to operate virtually. Nonprofit refurbishers, which provide free or inexpensive computers, are out of stock in Kansas City and around the Tenth District.

The Kansas City Fed plans to launch the Employer Laptop Challenge soon and we will ask you to join us.

Every day, good used laptops end up in a landfill or languish in warehouses as business and government upgrade. There are many big, vexing, complicated issues related to COVID-19. This is not one of them. This, we can fix.

Watch for more information in the next two weeks. In the meantime, prepare to be a #LaptopHero. Start the process within your organization that will allow you to donate computers.

It has never been more critical to get people connected.

For more information: Jeremy Hegle, Jeremy.hegle@kc.frb.org

Author

Jeremy Hegle

Senior Community Development Advisor

Jeremy W. Hegle, a native Missourian, was 12 when he began helping on his grandfather’s farm. He later served in the Army National Guard, launched a business support organization…