"The silence on our roads and in our schools and other public places was deafening and surreal. What many thought would be a couple of months of sacrifice turned out to be a prolonged period of uncertainty, unemployment, and hardship."
That's how the Outer Banks Community Foundation describes what happened in North Carolina's Dare County during the coronavirus pandemic.
Bridges were closed, schools and businesses were forced to close, and thousands of residents were left without meals.
"Perhaps worst of all, our kids were stuck at home without the benefit of team sports, dance classes, school clubs, or formal, in-person education," the foundation says in a press release.
The foundation, which has given more than $350,000 to 21 nonprofits in the two years since the pandemic, says it immediately reached out to local nonprofits to offer grant support.
A grant from the foundation paid for 69 wi-fi hotspots for nearly 200 students in Dare County Schools, as well as 50 hotspots and data plans for 180 households.
Students on Ocracoke Island also needed connectivity.
"During the time when we couldn't work face to face, the hotspots filled an important gap for our students," says Ocracoke School guidance counselor Mary McKnight.
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