Helping the Needy Get Nerdy

Free Geek is a not-for-profit community organization that recycles used technology to provide computers, education, Internet access and job skills training to those in need in exchange for community service.

Linux Journal reader Kevin, from Portland, Oregon, tells us, "I've donated equipment and money to them (Free Geek). I love giving working computer gear to them knowing that someone will learn computer skills by refurbishing it, loading Linux on it, and passing it on to someone truly in need of a computer. After 24 hours of donated time the volunteer gets to take home a computer for their own."

They describe their own work best:

Free Geek was founded in February 2000 (and incorporated as a 501(c)(3) in April 2000) to recycle computer technology and provide low and no-cost computing to individuals and not-for-profit and social change organizations in the community and throughout the world.

In the eight years since its formation, Free Geek has recycled over 1,500 tons of electronic scrap and refurbished over 15,000 computer systems that are now in use by individuals and organizations in the community.

Free Geek does most of this work with volunteers (at any given time, about 500 are active). The volunteers disassemble the donated equipment and test the components, which are either recycled as electronic scrap or recycled into refurbished systems. These refurbished computers are then loaded with Open Source Software, such as GNU/Linux, Open Office, and other Free Software.

Visit Free Geek for more information.

Readers, if you know of other grass-roots efforts and groups doing similar for communities outside of Portland, Oregon, drop a note in the comments below. We'd love to hear about them.

Carlie Fairchild is Linux Journal’s Publisher and guiding spirit. She’s been actively engaged in the Linux community for two decades and is responsible for setting the magazine’s overall direction. Carlie leads a motley team of geeks and journalists to ensure that Linux Journal stays true to its founding ideologies of personal freedom and open-source technical innovation.

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