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United Way, CVTC put computers in hands of people in need

Monday, April 10, 2023

United Way, CVTC put computers in hands of people in need

Image: United Way, CVTC put computers in hands of people in need

Stephanie Klint, college student and mother of three, picks up a much-needed computer from Chippewa Valley Technical College Tuesday, April 4. United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley collaborates with local organizations to secure refurbished computers and sell them for $30 to people who qualify.

Stephanie Klint was in the middle of a group project for a college course when her computer broke down, recently.

“There was nothing I could do,” she said. “I could try to use my phone, but it’s hard to type papers unless you have a keyboard.”

The 34-year-old Chippewa Valley Technical College student and mother of three said going back to school has put a strain on their finances, which makes it difficult to drop hundreds of dollars on a new computer.

When she received an email from CVTC with information about receiving a computer for $30, she was leery.

“I didn’t know if it was real, to be completely honest,” she said. “I had to look into it a little bit. I had no idea there was a program like that.”

CVTC and United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley teamed up to offer a Digital Resource Fair at the College last week. People who registered and qualified for a computer were awarded a device after paying $30. More than 60 devices were distributed from CVTC – 57 of those were to CVTC students, and the others were to people from the community.

Amber Scharenbroch, Community Impact director for the local United Way, said their goal is digital equity to make sure people in the community have what they need like, internet connection, digital skills training and devices.

United Way works with other organizations throughout the Chippewa Valley to refurbish computers and distribute them to people in need – those who are 250 percent of the poverty line or below, or who receive government assistance. A grant makes up the other portion of the cost.

At this point, the devices are for those who live in Eau Claire County, but the United Way is working on expanding its reach.

Distribution at CVTC was the second event the United Way has been able to have. The next event will be on May 10 in Altoona, but to receive a computer, people must register and be approved.

Klint is grateful CVTC alerted students because that email came at just the right time.

“It saved my life, and it’s helping my career,” she said. “I’m just thankful the program is there for students like me.”

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