Austin Free-Net seeks device donations to help those in need


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Since its founding in 1995, Austin Free-Net has helped Austinites in need access the Internet for school and work.

AUSTIN, Texas – For the second year in a row, Austin Free-Net is looking to run a holiday campaign for laptop, tablet and cell phone donation.

“Every time you pull out your phone or your, you know, your credit card, you absolutely have to know that you are considered lucky in the community and that not everyone has that freedom,” Jess Ross, Executive Director Austin Free-Net Acting, mentioned.

Throughout the year, AFN collects devices, erases them from previous data, cleans them and provides them to other non-profit organizations for distribution to those who do not have easy access to the Internet. During the pandemic, the gulf between those with easy access to the internet and those without became more apparent.

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“There are statistics that if you make around $ 10,000 a year, around 45% of those people don’t have enough devices. However, if you make around $ 100,000, around 5% of those people don’t have devices. So the digital divide isn’t just “the haves and have-nots,” it’s literally everyone, ”Ross said.

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The association provides like-new devices to students and professionals.

“COVID-19 has shed light on the need and the digital divide itself,” Ross said. “Everyone working from home, home schooled, you could see they definitely needed multiple devices in one household to function, both at work and at school.”

Ross added that those who need it most are low-income families, the elderly and people of color.

“At this time of year, from Black Friday to the end of the year, everyone gets new devices, and what better to do with the old devices, than to give them away to community members around the world. need ?” Ross said.

As AFN collects devices year-round, Ross hopes that a holiday campaign can provide 500 devices to families in Austin and surrounding areas in 2022. If you would like to donate, you can do so at DeWitty Training and Employment Center during AFN hours.

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