SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - As schools reopen with distance learning, a local nonprofit is working to bridge the digital divide during a critical time.
Tammy Hershfield co-founded Computers 2 San Diego Kids 17 years ago, providing refurbished computers to low-income children. She says the local digital divide remains a big one.
"One in four children in San Diego don't have computer in their home, and 50 percent of those are low income families," said Hershfield.
The digital divide is now even more concerning because of COVID-19, as students begin the school year with distance learning.
"These kids were already at a disadvantage. They were having to do their learning just in the classroom. Not they don't even have that, so we need to get them these computers," said Hershfield.
Since the pandemic started, the nonprofit has refurbished and distributed nearly 18,000 computers to local kids. Dozens of volunteers and staff are working on the computers every day.
"We hired 14 additional staff. We're open six days a week, working 10 hours a day to get things done," said Hershfield.
Families receiving the computers pick up the computers at the nonprofit's warehouse in the Miramar area. Hershfield remembers one family, a furloughed single mother of 4 with a 17-year-old daughter applying for college and loans on a phone. That family received two computers.
"Mom cried, and I cried. The digital disparity is real, and COVID-19 has put a on shining light on it. We can band together and help the people that need the help," said Hershfield.
Hershfield says they have about 6,000 computers being worked on and need more donated computers.
The nonprofit has partnered with Cox Communications to include free internet access for up to four months.