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Anne Arundel County Distributes Laptops to Underserved Residents

The Maryland county has handed out more than 200 Chromebook laptops as part of a program that aims to bridge digital and Internet access gaps. In total, the county will give out 7,000 laptops from 16 public library locations.

Anne Arundel County, Md., Executive Steuart Pittman and members of the county library system handed out more than 200 Chromebook laptops at the Linthicum library location Wednesday as part of a program aiming to bridge digital and internet access gaps.

The county will eventually hand out 7,000 laptops across 16 public library locations over the coming months. The program is expected to be complete by June.

“We are doing this because people need computers to do just about everything in this day and age and we want to make sure people are keeping up,” Pittman said. “We obviously want to make sure everyone is connected to the internet, but there are still many households where there are no devices and programs like this aim at minimizing that number.”

About 200 county residents registered to receive one of the laptops at Wednesday’s event. Several residents who attended said the device would be life-changing.

Jalisa Hardy, a 32-year-old Glen Burnie resident, found out about the program because her children were in a Head Start program.

“This is truly amazing,” she said. “I home-school my kids. I have a four-year-old, a three-year-old and a one-year-old, so being able to use new educational tools to help them will go a long way.”

Gov. Wes Moore announced in November the state would distribute 133,000 laptops to 27 local governments for distribution to underserved households. At a cost of $27.2 million through the state’s Office of Statewide Broadband, the devices “are a gateway for Marylander to be able to apply for jobs, complete schoolwork and connect with vital community resources,” Moore said in a news release. Anne Arundel’s computers cost $1.39 million.

To qualify for a Chromebook, residents must be at least 18 and only one can be distributed per household. Eligible residents must have a monthly income that’s below 200% of the federal poverty level. In 48 states that’s $30,120 for a household of one. As of the 2022 Census, about 6.4% of the county’s 590,000 residents were living in poverty.

Other ways to qualify include being a participant in a federally approved government assistance program such as Affordable Connectivity Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit, Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program or received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year.

Residents are expected to have proof of residency and identity at the time of pickup. For more information about the connected devices program, including a list of upcoming distribution events and eligibility requirements visit

Michelle Banks, 53, from Glen Burnie said the computer will help her keep up with her appointments without using the small screen on her phone.

“I don’t feel like they usually do a lot of programs for those of us that live in the county like they do for people in the city,” she said, referencing Baltimore. “We have poverty too, so I’m glad to see them trying to address it.”

Anne Arundel Chief Information Officer Jack Martin said last month that most counties in the state are participating in the Chromebook giveaway program.

“This is about people, it’s not about tech. We’re trying to get the tools that people need because that technology isn’t just for techies anymore. Everybody needs it,” Martin said. “If they’re eligible we want them to be connected, whether it’s a doctor’s appointment that’s virtual or a school kid trying to do their homework. They need to be connected no matter what.”

Millersville resident Kimberly Bouyer, 36, is a single mother with two boys. She wouldn’t have been able to afford a laptop without this program.

“I just use my cellphone for everything,” she said. “It’s hard to come up with enough to get a new laptop so this was a great opportunity today, she said”

The next opportunities to receive a Chromebook will be at Severn Library on Friday from 1 to 4 p.m., Deale Library on Tuesday from 2 to 5 p.m. and Edgewater Library on Jan. 31 from 2 to 4 p.m.

“Libraries are community connectors,” said Skip Auld, Anne Arundel County Public Library CEO. “We are proud to work with Anne Arundel County to put these devices in the hands of those who need them most.”

©2024 Capital Gazette. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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