MORRISVILLE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A school district Morrisville, Bucks County is opening all virtual this fall, but the district had a big problem: they didn't have enough computers. But a local church and concerned citizens have come to the rescue.
The end of the 2020 school year put 6th grader Ryan Alla Mensah in a tough spot. Not only did he have to go to school virtually due to coronavirus concerns, he also had to figure out how he'd get his work done while sharing his family's only computer with his little sister.
"Sometimes, I had to do my work and she had to do her work, and sometimes we had the same due date," said Ryan of his little sister Orelia.
The upcoming school year will be a lot easier for both kids as they'll each have their own laptops thanks to community members who stepped up to help all kids in the district. They raised and donated about $30,000 to help the district buy new Chromebooks for students to use.
"For them to be able to donate and give money to this effort, I believe really it says a lot," said Morrisville School Board President Damon Miller.
The Morrrisville School District has about 900 students, but the district only had about 300 Chromebooks. It was a worrisome situation since the district will be using an all-virtual format at least until February.
"We did have some funding from the state and federal government," said Miller, "but it wasn't going to be enough, and the money wasn't coming out as fast as we would've wanted it to."
Rather than wait, Miller started spreading the word at Morrisville Presbyterian Church. Before he knew it, checks from everyday people started flowing in.
"The congregation responded immensely with being able to provide us with over $11,000 worth of funding," said Miller.
The church also spread the word to the United Way of Bucks County which chipped in another $15,000. Paired with state and federal funds, the school district can now do what once seemed impossible.
"Every student is going to have a Chromebook," said Miller.
The Bensalem Education Foundation donated hotspots to help students have internet access on their devices. The foundation also donated laptops, and Bucks County Technical High School donated more Chromebooks.
"God bless them because it takes somebody who is really caring to think about such a thing to donate," said Ryan and Orelia's mother, Beverly Alla Mensa.
Augustine Alla Mensa is equally grateful for the generous donations that'll help his children.
"They understand the importance of trying to help our kids to appreciate education, and that is a good thing," he said.
The Chromebooks are scheduled to arrive by August 24. The school district will then distribute the devices to families before September 8, which is the first day of school.
"I feel great," exclaimed 4th grader Orelia at the thought of not having to juggle her schoolwork with her brother now that they'll both have their own devices.
"Thank you for donating to help the people who need laptops in hard times," she said.