• 79°

Free 4G LTE smartphones, tablets offered to low-income individuals

LAPLACE — Charitable Assistance of Louisiana is a new community service organization providing a lifeline to low-income individuals in St. John the Baptist Parish.

Located at 2832 W. Airline Highway Ste. A in LaPlace, Charitable Assistance is a hub connecting individuals on government assistance or with a household income below 135% of the poverty level to free 4G LTE smartphones with unlimited talk, text and data.

Qualifying individuals who receive cell phones can also receive a free tablet with a WiFi hotspot to assist in working and/or schooling from home.

CEO Rashaad Collins is passionate about helping his community because he can relate to families experiencing financial turmoil.

“At one point in time, I was on government assistance, and it definitely helped me and my family come to a better place in life where we no longer need it,” Collins said. “I’m from Reserve, so I definitely want to provide the same thing to people in my area and help them come to a better standing financially. All of these options help them to be able to do that.”

Collins said the free smart phones and cell phone service are made available through the Lifelife program. It also coincides with the recent rollout of the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program offered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to providing phones and tablets, Collins said Charitable Assistance of Louisiana will provide mental health referrals, career/job placement assistance, prescription drug coupons, credit education and restoration, business formation assistance and low-cost clothing.

New and gently used clothing ranging in cost from 50 cents to $5 will be set up at 2832 W. Airline Highway Ste. A in LaPlace. Community donations are welcomed.

“There is a Goodwill and a couple of thrift stores in the area, but we want to give people more options to be able to find affordable clothing. We have a lot of things that are new and unworn, as well as some gently used clothing that was donated, washed and made sure it is presentable enough to be used again,” Collins said. “Starting this Monday, every Monday and Sunday we will have an outside flea market/garage sale set-up where we’ll have a big variety of clothing outside of the building.”

Clothing will be set up from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays and from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Collins said the other services offered by Charitable Assistance of Louisiana are important to helping individuals establish self-suffiency.

“Education, planning and credit restoration will help a person get a better job and lower interest rates and allow them to purchase a house or start a business,” Collins said. “The business formation is a really important area as well so that people can have other options for work and be able to do the things they want to do.”

Individuals participating in the credit restoration program will be assigned to a credit specialist who will educate them on building credit, budgeting, banking, and basic stocks and bonds.

As with the cell phones and tablets, these programs are intended for individuals who are on government assistance or below 135% of the poverty level.

For more information, call 985-360-5411 or 985-536-7888.