by Matthew Kemeny
Were you lucky enough to score some great deals on laptops or other computer equipment this holiday season?
Maybe you have a laptop or two collecting dust in the house. If so, we encourage you to donate your used equipment to PCs for People to help close the digital divide.
The digital divide is the gulf between those who have ready access to computers and the internet, and those who do not. Nonprofit organizations are working hard to close this growing chasm and help from the community is vital.
Since the campaign launched last year, our company and employees have donated 79 pieces of computer equipment to PCs for People, ranging from laptops and tablets to monitors and other accessories. The donations have benefited students in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field in the Greater Baltimore area.
The national nonprofit PCs for People refurbishes desktop and laptop computers for distribution to eligible recipients.
In 2020, PCs for People served 211,000 individuals, distributed 37,975 computers, connected 45,000 homes to the internet and responsibly recycled 2,000,000 pounds of e-waste. Of the people they serve:
- 65% have never owned a home computer;
- $15,500 is the average household income for a family of three;
- 70% of people served have children in K-12 schools; and
- 15% is the average increase in household income for families who have enrolled in our low-cost internet program and have received a new computer.
Approximately 15 to 16 million K-12 public school students in the U.S. live in homes with inadequate internet connection, or have devices that aren’t equipped for distance learning, according to a June 2020 study from Common Sense Media and the Boston Consulting Group.
In addition to our donations, The Digital Harbor Foundation, Baltimore Robotics Center, Rowdy Orbit and the STEM Center for Excellence are among the nonprofits currently working together to solicit donations for laptops, tablets and Wi-Fi hotspots to help close this vital technology gap.
Eric Davis, Executive Director at the STEM Center for Excellence, noted that the donations are making a real difference in Maryland classrooms.
“New families are coming to PCs for People, and the donations are helping bridge that gap,” Davis said. “However, the demand still exceeds the supply. Our goal in 2022 is to get more companies involved, like RouteSmart is, in helping provide computer equipment that students desperately need in their classrooms.”
“It’s a win-win for everyone,” he added. “The smartest thing about it is that you’re helping yourself by helping your community.”
Businesses or individuals interested in donating laptops or tablets can fill out this form or drop the equipment off at the Baltimore Robotics Center, 1001 W. Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21223 or RouteSmart Technologies headquarters at 8850 Stanford Blvd # 3250, Columbia, MD 21045. Those wishing to make a tax-deductible monetary donation, can do so here.
“Even if you’re unable to donate money, we encourage people to give their time to do whatever they can to help those less fortunate during the holiday season,” RouteSmart IT Director Chris Gibson said. “Whatever you can get involved with – whether it be holiday dinners, toy and food drives – goes a long way to brightening others’ days.”