St. Louis COVID-19 Internet Resources for Low-Income Families
Gone are the days when a working computer was a fancy and rare appliance. Today, a mobile internet device is as indispensable as a stove or microwave, and low-income families trying to get ahead need them the most. To help disadvantaged groups in St. Louis get access to everything they need to succeed, we put together this list of affordable devices, educational child care services and free Wi-Fi in St. Louis:
Discounted Distance Learning Devices in St. Louis
In St. Louis, you can receive a laptop, tablet or some other device for as little as nothing thanks to organizations distributing affordable equipment to low-income families. Due to high demand and the popularity of these programs, however, you might have to wait your turn on a waitlist before getting your discounted device. Here are some groups in St. Louis to check out for help securing a laptop or desktop computer:
Project Appleseed — Project Appleseed is a non-profit organization helping low-income families in the St. Louis area close the digital divide. Their Learning@Home initiative, for example, distributes free computers and other internet-enabled devices to help families connect online and fully participate in our society.
St. Louis Public Schools — The St. Louis Public Schools system is committed to ensuring every child enrolled in their district has the tools necessary to learn and unlock their potential. Every child in K-8 is eligible for a free laptop, and those in grades 9-12 can receive a laptop free of charge. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
PCs for the People — PCs for the People accepts computer donations and resells them to people and non-profit groups at reduced costs. In order to qualify, recipients must earn below the 200 percent poverty level or participate in an income-based assistance program. You can shop their online collection here.
Remote Learning Programs and Virtual Child Care Centers in St. Louis
Letting them binge-watch Netflix is only one way to keep your children entertained (hey, we don’t judge). Many programs and services in St. Louis, Missouri, offer virtual programming that is free, educational and a nice break between Teen Titans Go! episodes. Here are some of the best child care services you can use to focus on your work or whatever else you need to do while your child remains entertained and engaged:
St. Louis Public Library — The St. Louis Public Library is one of the best child care resources at your disposal. Their sprawling digital collection includes over 33,000 free e-books and a comparable number of audiobooks, movies, comic books and much more! If you don’t already have a library account, you can get an eCard online and enjoy immediate access to everything your local branch has to offer.
The Magic House Children’s Museum — The Magic House is a premier destination in St. Louis for innovative, hands-on activities for children. Their Magic at Home program includes free activities such as DIY projects, arts & crafts and much more. Make sure to also check out their Facebook and Instagram pages to join the fun.
St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station — The St. Louis Aquarium is an immersive experience meant to share the underwater world with visitors of all ages. Their website offers a collection of free interactive videos where viewers can learn about marine animals and how the Aquarium cares for them. They also stream different habitats on their Facebook page every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. completely free of charge.
Missouri Botanical Garden — Sitting on 79 acres of land, the Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the country’s most impressive centers dedicated to the plant world. Their #OurGardenYourHome project allows visitors to virtually tour the garden for free, in addition to watching educational and interesting videos.
St. Louis Art Museum — The St. Louis Art Museum preserves the city’s artistic achievements and puts on display beautiful exhibits for the public’s consumption. Patrons can visit the Museum’s website and listen to free guidebooks covering past and current exhibitions, or they can also read the blog for a behind-the-scenes look at the Museum and specific artworks.
Free Wireless Internet Access in St. Louis
Out of all 50 states in the U.S., Missouri comes 41st in terms of connectivity. In some of the city’s neighborhoods, as much as 44 percent of all households lack internet access. These “digital deserts” mostly cover low-income areas that can’t afford high-speed internet access. Below are some maps and directories where St. Louis residents can find free internet at a location near them and connect online:
The St. Louis County Library is a great resource for free Wi-Fi in the area. Thanks to a partnership with T-Mobile, they are able to loan internet hotspots for up to 14 days. They also offer free Wi-Fi at their locations, including the following branches:
Mobile internet hotspots are also available from the St. Louis Public Schools. If you’re not a member of a school in the district, or if you’d prefer to use Wi-Fi at a location other than a public library, use this map we put together below to find a place of your choosing:
Free Wireless Internet Access in St. Louis, Missouri
Adult Outreach - Large Van
1301 Olive Street
St. Louis, MO 63103
Adult Outreach - Small Van
1301 Olive Street
St. Louis, MO 63103
One Busch Place
St. Louis, MO 63118
8448 Church Road
St. Louis, MO 63147
1701 S Jefferson Ave
St. Louis, MO 63104
4401 Hampton Ave
St. Louis, MO 63109
1106 Union Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63113
6800 Michigan Ave
St. Louis, MO 63111
3309 S Grand Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63118
815 Olive St Ste 160
St. Louis, MO 6
Reprinted with permission from Sandra Jacobs, Outreach Manager 1.888.323.4128
Digital Literacy, Inclusion and Safety Council (DLISC)