“Because of COVID, a lot of people were affected and the digital divide was more and more apparent,” Gadhiraju said in a recent interview with The Pantagraph. “People who would like to take advantage of a low-cost computer, we don’t want them to have to drive three or four hours to get that computer.

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“We really hope people in Central Illinois can take advantage of this.”

Children’s Discovery Museum Executive Director Beth Whisman said many families in McLean County struggled with technology access after schools closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. But access goes beyond families needing technology for their students.

“Some families relied on their child’s school-issued hardware to sustain household online needs throughout the pandemic,” she said in a news release. “That isn’t sustainable. This event will help our families and all residents who need a household computer year-round to cover vital needs and services and to keep them connected to the community.”

The distribution event is open to all qualifying individuals in Illinois. Qualifying individuals include a household income below the 200{98cae0078f524eff3ab8ec32cf55b261677ef6c8a6ed6e94d92a4234b93f46b6} poverty level or individuals currently enrolled in an income-based government assistance program.

Individuals must provide a photo ID and an “eligibility proof document” — such as a a tax return — dated within the last six months with the recipient’s name printed on the document.

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