West Side church goers to receive free laptops from Comcast

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Ira Acree, senior pastor of the Greater St. Bible Church, will be joined by executives from Comcast, community leaders, elected officials and congregants as he distributes free laptops to targeted families.

“We are grateful, honored and blessed to once again partner with Comcast in our collective effort to bridge the digital divide,” Acree said in a statement before services Dec. 3 at which the giveaway was to be announced.

For the second consecutive year, local faith-based leaders have banded together on an initiative designed to connect more residents to the internet and help make digital equity a reality in minority communities.

On Sunday, pastors and other faith-based leaders representing more than 200 churches across the Chicago area planned to share information with their congregations about the federal Affordable Connectivity Program.

Created through the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the program provides up to $30 per month toward the cost of eligible households’ internet and/or mobile service bills. Households that choose service plans that are $30 or less can have the full cost of their service covered.

Launched nearly two years ago, the program has now connected more than 21 million households across the country, however, many households have yet to take advantage.

Pastor Acree said the program “has been the guiding force that has strengthened our congregations and allowed them to fully engage within the worldwide web. … Internet connectivity and digital skills can open a world of unlimited possibilities. They can help our children succeed in school and prepare our adults for work and other opportunities that may not be open to them now.”

Bishop Larry D. Trotter of the Sweet Holy Spirit Church added: “By coming together for this important initiative, our goal is to close the digital divide in our communities and create a future where every individual has the opportunity to participate and thrive in the digital world.”

In addition, Comcast is donating new laptops to several churches as part of the company’s long-standing commitment to advancing digital equity.

“Closing the digital divide has been one of Comcast’s top priorities for more than a decade. Over the years, we’ve worked with hundreds of partners across the Chicago area, from nonprofits and school districts to elected officials and members of the faith-based community as addressing this critical issue cannot be achieved without collaboration,” said Carl Jones Jr., Comcast’s regional vice president of external and government affairs.

For more information about the program, its eligibility requirements and to apply, visit www.AffordableConnectivity.gov or call (877) 384-2575.

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