Belleville Public Library has partnered with PCs for People, a non-profit organization that refurbishes computers and distributes them into the community at little to no cost for qualifying families.
As a partnering organization, the Belleville Public Library will serve as a location for residents to donate used equipment or pick-up refurbished computers through PCs for People.
“This organization has established an office in the metro east and Belleville Public Library is partnering with them to help bridge the digital divide in our area,” said Director of Library Leander Spearman. “We’ve seen people lose internet and computer access as a result of the pandemic, so we’re happy to help with this project knowing many residents can now regain digital access.”
Spearman said that families will apply for a computer, hotspot, or both directly to PCs for People. Once the family is approved for the equipment, they can come to the Belleville Public Library to pick-up the equipment.
As part of the partnership, individuals or businesses wishing to donate computer equipment can bring their devices to the library to be restored and distributed as part of the program. PCs for People is also working with the Leadership Council of Southwestern Illinois to coordinate free, secure technology pickups directly with companies donating 15 or more devices. Interested organizations can contact email@example.com to schedule a pickup.
"We are thrilled to be partnering with the Belleville Public Library and even more so proud to call Belleville home as we'll soon be opening our PCs for People retail store to bridge the digital divide in the area," said PCs for People Executive Director Jaison K.D. McCall, Ed.D. "In order to continue to distribute technology in the community, we rely on the support of the community in terms of technology donations. We are members of the community, who with help from other community members, can make tremendous impact."
Distribution at the Belleville Public Library will begin in January. PCs for People and the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois are also partnering with community organizations, such as the library, to host computer distribution events across the region. The Union United Methodist Church, 721 E. Main St, Belleville will host a computer distribution event Sat., Dec. 19 from 9 a.m. until noon.
To apply, including for the Saturday event, visit tinyurl.com/pcsforpeopleIL or call 618-215-3787.
PCs for People received a $1.5 million grant from the Illinois Covid-19 Response Fund to connect underserved residents with computers and broadband in their homes. This project includes establishing a warehouse and retail location in Belleville, set to open in early 2021. The location will also offer workforce training opportunities in the IT field, in partnership with the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.