TALLAHASSEE, Fla.(WTXL) — Low-income families in Leon County are now getting assistance staying connected during the COVID-19 pandemic with help from former NFL star and Tallahassee native William Gay.
Before playing in the National Football League as a defensive back for more than a decade, Gay grew up in Tallahassee and graduated from James S. Rickards High School.
As the COVID-19 pandemic forces many families to stay at home for work and school, Gay is helping out by making a $7,500 donation to the Foundation for Leon County Schools (FLCS) to pay for home internet service for families from Tallahassee Southside area schools through Comcast’s Internet Essentials program.
Comcast is matching his contribution and the combined $15,000 donation will pay for 10 months of Internet Essentials service for 150 local families.
“When the COVID-19 shutdowns started and schools had to close, I thought of all the kids that don’t have the Internet at home and who already struggle every day because of the tough circumstances they are growing up with,” said Gay. “These children and their families are disconnected from the valuable resources of the Internet that will help them succeed in school and in life. With reliable home internet service from a provider like Comcast, they can get fully connected and help level the playing field.”
In addition to his donation, Gay is also issuing a challenge to encourage other current and former professional athletes to make similar donations to nonprofit and community-based organizations to help bridge the digital divide for families in need of internet service at home.
Anyone who is interested can email IEGetConnectedChallenge@comcast.com for more information.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Comcast is offering the first 2 months, or 60 days, of service for free to new Internet Essentials customers who sign up through the end of the year.
This partnership is also a part of the FLCS’s recently launched Internet For All (IFA) fundraising campaign.
“Students without internet at home are at a serious disadvantage in normal settings and will be increasingly more so if distance learning becomes more necessary in these uncertain times,” said FLCS Executive Director Eric Clark. “Leon County Schools will be providing smart devices for all students beginning this school year. To complement becoming a 1:1 school district, FLCS will be 2 partnering with donors like William Gay and businesses like Comcast that would like to help ensure all of our students have reliable home internet.”
For more information on Internet Essentials, visit www.InternetEssentials.com.
For more information on the FLCS Internet For All initiative, visit www.foundationforlcs.com.
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