Re-purposed computers open web to those in need

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A technician at TechReset works on a laptop that will once again be made useful.Photo courtesy TechRese

By  Wendy-Ann Clarke

ONTARIO, Canada, (The Catholic Register) – Computers have become an essential tool in this year where everything from medical visits to high school classes has moved online.

A donation of 75 laptops to eight Catholic Charities’ member agencies is making life more manageable for people who may not have access to that technology.

With many agencies running into challenges due to the need for laptops for clients at the start of the pandemic, Catholic Charities put a call out for anyone with excess equipment to be matched with a person in need. That led to Jack McSorley, owner of e-waste disposal and computer recycling company TechReset. Although the organization did not have any computers to give, it offered something more valuable.

“He wanted to help, but couldn’t supply the technology. However, what he did offer were his services,” said Elio Sergnese, program manager at Catholic Charities. “He said if you’re able through all your networks to get any old technology, we will pick it up at no charge and re-purpose it at no charge and get it back to you. It really just grew from there.”

TechReset has been overwhelmed with requests for computer equipment donations, but as a member of the Catholic community himself, McSorley looked for creative ways to contribute.

“I got thinking of different agencies and I talked to (Catholic Charities) to see if they’ve got other assets around that they’re not using that are quite frankly, doorstops, that we can potentially turn into money,” said McSorley. “By getting some of these other assets back, we’re able to use a little bit of that money to contribute to help us to do the other work, to help them offset costs. They were assisting us in participating in helping themselves.”

Catholic Children’s Aid Society, an agency of Catholic Charities, had a mix of older desktops and laptops. TechReset, which specializes in converting older information technology into usable equipment, swapped the desktops for laptops and then added to the donation.

“When you take a step back and look at it you know this is the spirit of the Catholic community coming together,” said Sergnese. “It’s really the spirit of collaboration.”

The laptops were distributed among Cathoic Charities’ agencies Silent Voice Canada, Sancta Maria House, St Michael’s Homes, Loyola Arrupe Centre for Seniors, Vita Centre, Society of Sharing, St. Bernadette’s Family Resource Centre and Rosalie Hall.

“We have been really touched by the generosity of it all and how it is now helping low-income people to connect virtually with these member agencies,” said Jack Panozzo, social justice and advocacy program manager at Catholic Charities.

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