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Continued: Rosenblum: Championing affordable Internet access

  • Article by: GAIL ROSENBLUM , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 2, 2014 - 12:01 PM

Computers are donated to PCs for People from businesses, government agencies and individuals, and are refurbished in the nonprofit’s 11,000-square-foot St. Paul warehouse.

Recipients, 60 percent of whom have never owned a computer, may take up to two. They make a donation if they are able, the range usually being $10 to $50. Some from immigrant communities say they’ll use computer programs to improve their English skills.

PCs for People also provides certified data wiping that businesses require, as well as free pickup and recycling. Sorensen jokes that he is sometimes the driver doing the pickup. But he’s proud of his organization’s full range of services, including warrantied products and support. And he’s proud of its growth — from one to five to 10 full-time staff members in four years.

In an effort to reach rural areas where the digital divide remains stubborn, they’ve also opened offices in Grand Rapids, International Falls and Willmar.

This year, a new venture, called PCs for Kids, will bring computers to schoolchildren in 19 communities around the state, in partnership with the Otto Bremer Foundation.

The big goal for 2014 is to give away 2,400 computers throughout the Upper Midwest. Then? “Chicago’s next,” Sorensen said.

Then maybe the world.

PCs for People, Sorensen said, is unique in its offerings and clear in its mission: “We want to make just about everything in life a little bit easier.”

 

Businesses interested in donating computers, and people interested in receiving computers or low-cost Internet, can call PCs for People at 651-354-2552, or visit <URL destination="http://www.pcsforpeople.org">www.pcsforpeople.org<PARAGRAPH style="$ID/[No paragraph style]">cq

 

gail.rosenblum@startribune.com 612-673-7350 • Twitter: @grosenblum

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