COVID-19 has highlighted the desperate lack of access to computers and the internet for many of our lower-income community members, including in Central Baltimore near the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus.
This digital void, coupled with the pandemic, compounds an existing lack of access to daily basics that many of us take for granted, such as health care, employment, and educational resources.
Where there are no computers, or perhaps only a single outdated tablet, for a multiperson household, students are limited in participating in remote learning, the approach that Baltimore City Schools has adopted. Unemployed individuals with minimal options are limited in applying for employment or benefits. And senior citizens and new parents cannot mitigate their social isolation, connect with loved ones, or access health-related resources.
Digital access is essential today, whether it's for getting a refrigerator repaired, setting up a budget, connecting with history, exploring art, taking a journey with Google Earth Flyover—or winding down with puppy videos. Consider your daily life with no or limited internet connectivity over an extended period.
But you can help our neighbors. Johns Hopkins University is partnering with Central Baltimore Partnership and Code in the Schools, two strong Baltimore-based nonprofits, to help fill this critical need and is asking those who can to donate used technology equipment such as computers, Chromebooks, smartphones, and tablets to this initiative. The goal is to collect 1,000 devices by Aug. 10 to be distributed to households suffering from lack of digital access and to community centers serving these residents.
Your donation will not only provide game-changing internet and technology access, but Code in the Schools will train and employ youth to scrub the hard drives and refurbish the donated equipment, and recipients of the equipment will have access to technical assistance. A parallel program is enhancing Wi-Fi accessibility for people with very low incomes. Equipment is tax-deductible, and an acknowledgment letter of your contribution can be provided.
To make a donation, visit the Hopkins Engage website to learn more.
Equipment drop-off are also available at the following locations:
- JHU Homewood campus (3400 N. Charles St.), Wyman Park Building, front desk, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday
- Johns Hopkins at Eastern (3301 E. 33rd St.), front desk, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday
- Johns Hopkins Technology Hub (Rangos Building, 855 N. Wolfe St.), beginning July 20, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday .
Alternatively, donated equipment can be mailed to Johns Hopkins University, Attn: Benefits & Worklife, 1101 E. 33rd St., Suite D200, Baltimore, MD, 21218.
For more information, email Greg Burks, Community Programs manager in the Johns Hopkins Office of Benefits & Worklife, firstname.lastname@example.org.