Got a dead laptop? We know what to do with it! My online buddy and fellow GeekDad, Mordechai Luchins, has a little charity endeavor called The Laptop Project that I want to tell you about. Mordechai, or Morts, as most people call him, likes to fix laptops; he finds it entertaining. Keeping track of countless tiny screws, gently wiggling components in and out of their brackets, are things that he finds fun and relaxing. Once he found this out, he decided to put it to good use, so now he collects broken laptops, repairs them and gives them away to people who need them.
A recent article in the Jewish Standard tells more about the program, which is now an actual non-profit organization in the state of New Jersey, but I’ll give you the condensed version and some links to get you involved.
There are a lot of people who have laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices lying about, either because they’ve stopped working or been replaced by an upgrade. There are also a lot of people who could use a computer and don’t need the latest, greatest, fastest machine; some just need one for email, job searching, online education or other needs. In between the two is the Laptop Project. People give Morts their castoffs, fixes whatever is wrong, and then passes them on to anyone who asks. He does not have any screening process; he figures if you’re asking for an old laptop, you probably need one.
When Terri was laid off from her job a while ago, she had to return her work computer; as soon as Morts heard that she needed a laptop, he put an Acer Aspire in the mail to her. He also sent me one of those ThinkPads with the swivel so you can fold the screen backwards and use it as a drawing tablet, but I haven’t installed the software yet. Neither of these devices are going to win any beauty prizes, but they work. For somebody trying to find a job or learn new skills, a free laptop would be a huge blessing.
So if you have a broken or unused laptop (newer than 2007, please) and want to see it put into service, contact Morts at The Laptop Project’s Facebook page and make arrangements to send him your machine.
There are a few rules:
- Laptops, tablets and smartphones only; no desktop systems or monitors. They take up too much space and shipping is absurdly expensive.
- Nothing older than 2007; it’s too hard to find parts for older machines, and they can’t support the newer operating systems and software.
- Chargers and batteries are accepted, as they are some of the most frequently missing components.
- Some peripherals are accepted, such as Wacom tablets, DVD drives and external hard drives. Keyboards and mice are not needed or accepted.
- All of your data will be wiped from the machine and the hard drive reformatted; if you wish, Morts will retrieve it all to an archive and send it to you for a modest fee. In any case, your privacy will be protected.
The Laptop Project is not yet a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so donations are not yet tax-deductible, but that’s in the works. If that’s important to you, you should go click the “like” button on the Facebook page so you’ll get notification when that eventually gets done.
If you don’t have a suitable laptop or tablet to donate, but you want to help, there’s a GoFundMe campaign you can donate to. All of the money raised goes to pay for components, shipping cartons, postage and other incidental expenses.