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Freeport students receive new Chromebooks

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Whenever Lois Howes, former president of the Freeport Chamber of Commerce, hears that Pink Tie 1000 wants to help out in Freeport, she gets excited. 

Pink Tie 1000 is a Long Island-based nonprofit that connects local businesses to support education and research to fight breast cancer and other diseases. 

Along with its primary mission, Pink Tie 1000 takes part in dozens of philanthropic efforts on Long Island and beyond. In 2017, it partnered with the GivNGo gas station on West Merrick Road to donate a penny per gallon of gas pumped to Freeport nonprofits.

In 2020, Pink Tie 1000 was ready to give $10,000 in scholarships to local students, but when the pandemic hit, the group used the money to purchase laptops to help students adapt to remote learning.

With Howes coordinating between Pink Tie 1000 and the Freeport School District, the Chamber of Commerce delivered 39 Chromebooks to students at Caroline G. Atkinson Intermediate School and J.W. Dodd Middle School and another six to students at the Woodward Children’s Center on Jan. 14.   

“Kids need these laptops now more than ever,” Howes said. “I always feel honored whenever I get a call from Pink Tie to help in their work for our community.”  

Mike Cave, co-founder of Pink Tie 1000, said that helping others was at the forefront of organization officials’ minds when he stopped by Freeport on Oct. 27 to deliver the $10,000 check to the chamber.

Throughout the pandemic, Pink Tie 1000 has donated hundreds of boxes of food to about 70 food pantries on Long Island, including one run by the Salvation Army in Freeport.

When the pandemic began in March, Cave said, Pink Tie 1000 wanted to help local students. When organization officials heard about the district’s plan to distribute Chromebooks to students for remote learning, they rolled with the idea.

“It became clear that Chromebooks were the biggest thing for students to be able to learn at home properly,” Cave said. 

Nearly half of all students in the Freeport School District opted for remote-only learning, and the majority of students physically attending school are doing so via the hybrid model, for which they alternate days learning at school and at home. 

Cave initially reached out to Eric Alexander, the director of the smart-growth organization Vision Long Island. Alexander put Cave in touch with Howes, who helped set up the Chromebooks donation for the students. 

Greg Ingino, director of the Woodward Children’s Center and fellow Chamber of Commerce member, helped purchase the 45 Chromebooks from P.C. Richard & Son.    

While the laptops were originally to be donated in December, the event was pushed back because of a snowstorm and then delayed again due to the district’s winter break. 

School district officials said they were thankful to those involved in securing the Chromebooks. “With the donation of 39 Chromebooks and through your support and dedication to education, we are able to ensure that our students have the best technology available to aid in their educational journey,” Dr. Anthony Murray, district director of mathematics and computer technology, told the donors on Jan. 14. 

“Our school is so grateful for the donation of the Chromebooks,” added Gisselle Campbell-Ham, principal of the Atkinson Intermediate School. “Providing the proper technology to our students makes a huge impact in their education whether they are learning remotely or while they are in school.”