City to provide computers to low-income families with children

Thursday, February 13, 2014 | 8:33 p.m. CST; updated 9:14 a.m. CST, Friday, February 14, 2014

COLUMBIA — Twenty-five families without computers will receive a free one Saturday from the city.

Columbia has partnered with the Voluntary Action Center for "Homes for Computers," a program that provides locally refurbished computers to low-income families with school-age children.

The computers are surplus devices that the city has already replaced. The program has donated 380 computers over 11 years, according to a news release.

Families that receive a computer are required to have at least one child enrolled in Columbia Public Schools. The program's purpose is to match families with the tools they need to educate their children, VAC spokeswoman Jackie Wilmes said, “whether it’s an online assignment or something that needs to be typed up."

Because only 25 families applied for the program, there are five surplus computers. Wilmes hopes that more families will apply by Friday at the center’s offices at 403 Vandiver Drive, Suite A.

Applicants must provide:

  • proof of current address
  • proof that they have a child between kindergarten and 12th grade
  • proof of income for everyone who lives at the address
  • valid identification for everyone who lives at the address

An applicant’s income must be below 200 percent of the poverty line in order to qualify.

The computer giveaway will take place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Downtown Optimist Club Building at 1201 Grand Ave.

Before receiving computers, the families will receive a cyber safety presentation from Detective Andy Anderson of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

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