Global IT company donates computers to families who can't afford them during COVID-19 pandemic

KENT, Wash. - People who work with low-income families say access to technology at home has always been a big issue. Some families are not getting the information needed to learn and work because they don’t have a computer. One company is donating resources, so those who need them don’t feel left behind.

Avanade is a global corporation that provides IT consulting and services. As part of Avanade’s Corporate Citizenship mission, the company partners with local non-profits to donate resources.

InterConnection is a Seattle-based non-profit that refurbishes IT assets and provides them to low income families.

Together, Avanade and InterConnection chose Kent Youth and Family Youth Services as one of its first non-profits to provide computers for families that need them. This is a pilot program for Avanade.

While so many people have been working and learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, some families say they can't afford the tools needed to do that.

“These families don’t have the opportunity to work remotely. And particularly when it comes to kids’ education, if there’s no school to go to, not only do they have the issues of being at home all the time, but they don’t have access to do any kind of online work,” said Mike Heinisch, executive director of Kent Youth and Family Services

Monday, Avanade and InterConnection provided computers loaded with Microsoft programs and free internet service. Since it is a pilot program, Kent Youth and Family Service pre-selected families with the most need to receive the computers.

Before receiving the resources, some parents say they’ve had to get creative with homeschooling.

“Just trying to keep them focused,” Philip Barrett. “It’s been a challenge because you don’t have the teachers.”

Avanade and InterConnection work to provide technology access to those in underserved neighborhoods. Avanade directors are calling on other companies in the tech industry to do the same.

“I think we can make a difference and we can close the gap and ensure that all our kids who are the future workforce and the future leaders would have access to learning, access to technology,” said Heba Ramzy of Avanade.

As closures continue to help protect people from coronavirus exposure, parents said at least their new computer will help their kids stay on top of their education.

“They can learn many things, especially the little one. And it will be really helpful,” said Florencia Hernandez.

Avanade is hosting another drive-thru computer pickup with Mona Bailey Academy Wednesday. This will be for the academy’s pre-selected families in need. Avanade officials said they plan to donate to about 90 families by the end of April. The company is considering making the program permanent and hosting more computer giveaway events in the future.