The Friends of Oregon School District is launching a new fundraising program to help district students access the internet more effectively.

The goal is to raise $20,000 by the end of the month.

The group announced this week its #ConnectingOregonKids initiative to help students in need obtain reliable internet access during a time of virtual learning so they can connect with teachers and complete schoolwork online like their peers, a Wednesday, Sept. 9, FOSD news release states.

The funds would support families in an internet service area who cannot afford broadband access or households who have good cellular coverage but are not in a service area. Those families would get a mobile internet hotspot (MiFi).

Around 50 families in Oregon could use financial assistance for internet access, according to the release.

FOSD spokesperson Krista Flanagan said in the release that improving students’ internet access has been on the group’s radar since 2016, but the issue has a “higher level of urgency and importance” given the current virtual learning environment brought on by the pandemic. She said in addition to hunger, transportation and access to adult role models/mentors, one of the primary barriers to learning for district students is reliable internet access.

The program is in partnership with the Oregon School District and CESA 2, who have negotiated discounted rates with providers, according to the news release. Oregon Community Bank has agreed to be the lead campaign donor by matching the first $5,000 raised.

People can donate online through the PayPal donation button at friendsofosd.com/donate or mail checks to: FOSD at 401 Medinah St, Oregon, WI, 53575.

For information about FOSD and the #ConnectingOregonKids program, visit FriendsofOSD.com/connecting.

Email Unified Newspaper Group reporter Scott De Laruelle at scott.

delaruelle@wcinet.com.