AT&T donates to area elderly

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ferriday — Christmas is coming a bit early for some lucky Ferriday residents.

Residents living in the Macon Ridge Community Development’s elderly housing complex in Ferriday were just named as recipients of an AT&T Excelerator grant.

The grant at just over $23,000 will fund computer labs in each of Macon Ridge’s seven elderly housing units across Louisiana.

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AT&T’s North Louisiana Regional Manager Wynn Lawrence said the grant is just part of over $47 million that AT&T has devoted to funding similar projects nation-wide.

“It’s a pretty exciting program,” he said.

Lawrence said the elderly benefactors are prime candidates for the grant because they fit the profile of people who have the least amount of access to cutting edge technology.

And the technology will definitely be cutting edge, Macon’s President Buddy Spillers said.

Spillers said the grant will fund one lab in each of the complexes.

Each of those labs will have two computers with full Internet capabilities and e-mail access.

The computers will also have video equipment that will allow residents to communicate via video all over the world.

“This is going to introduce a whole group of people to an entire new world,” Spillers said. “Many of them have had no computer experience at all.”

And while many of the residents have not had any previous experience, they certainly are willing to learn.

Corinne Tumminello, 87, said she can’t wait to start learning how to use the new computers.

“Once someone shows me how to run it, I’ll start using it,” she said. “I really just want to be able to send e-mails to the kids.”

Spillers said that all of the complexes will offer training classes. In addition, Spiller is working with local technical schools to find volunteers to aid the new users.

Most of the residents who showed up for the presentation of the grant money said most of all they want e-mail access to keep in contact with loved ones.