PARISHVILLE — Families in the Parishville area who lack internet access can now find it at the Parishville Park.
A hot spot has been set up that allows anyone to access the internet from that location, courtesy of the American Federation of Teachers.
The hot spot was introduced to community members on Tuesday, along with the distribution of 100 free meals at the Snack Shack mobile food truck and free books, some with an accompanying DVD, for pre-readers up to young adult.
The free books were made possible by First Books Inc. through the New York State United Teachers, and the meals through the Parishville-Hopkinton Teachers Association. The SLC People Project partially funds the Snack Shack, where the meals and books were distributed.
Mary Wills, project coordinator for the People Project, said the Verizon Jet Pack Hot Spot can be used by students if they lack internet access at home and need to do online schooling, or by the community in general.
It also allows families to connect to hospitals and care providers for online services such as telemedicine and social services appointments, she said.
Students have been taking part in distance learning since mid-March because of COVID-19, which caused issues in some areas of the county, where at least 600 to 900 students do not have internet access at home, according to data from local school districts.
Eight year-round mobile hot spots are being set up around the north country as part of the St. Lawrence County People Project-American Federation of Teachers partnership. Parishville was the first community to receive the hot spot. Others, including Canton, Ogdensburg and Gouverneur, will also have hot spots in their community.
Ms. Wills said Gouverneur has four areas with no Wi-Fi access, and the hot spots will fill those voids.
In addition, she said, two high school families with special education students received hot spots for their home so the students could take part in their summer instruction.
“These hot spots will help to provide the ability to access information and services that many take for granted — telemedicine appointments and access to community resources via Social Services,” she said.
Tuesday’s event also included free food and free books. Ms. Wills said they received thousands of dollars worth of children’s books from First Books, Inc. to distribute.
“NYSUT received four pallets of books,” she said.
The books covered titles like “My First Words,” “My First Colors,” “Thumper’s Furry Friends” and “The Battle of the Labyrinth.” A poster listed the books and their accompany number, which youngsters used to identify the book they wanted at the checkout window.
It didn’t take long for some young readers to dig into the books. Two girls sat on the grass thumbing through their new acquisitions, including one with nursery rhymes.
Tuesday was actually the first of several “Community Days at the Parishville Beach,” where families can get a free grab-and-go lunch from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. or until food runs out. That effort is hosted by the PHCS Panther Paws program, in collaboration with PARC, the People’s Project, the American Federation of Teachers and New York State United Teachers.
Upcoming Community Days will be held Friday, sponsored by First Baptist Church of Parishville; Aug. 14, sponsored by the Hopkinton-Fort Jackson Fire Department; and Aug. 28, sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Parishville Fire Department. Books will also be available on Aug. 14.