CLEVELAND — At PCs for People, the work during the coronavirus pandemic has been busier than ever before.
The organization provides low-cost or free computers, internet and tech support to low-income Clevelanders — working out of their storefront on 31st and St. Clair in Cleveland.
“Since COVID has happened, our demand for computers has gone up ten-fold,” said executive director Bryan Mauk. “So we’ve gone from doing a couple hundred a month to well over a thousand every month.”
And while they’re grateful to help the community so much, Mauk said now — they need a little help, too.
“Unfortunately the donation of computers coming has only increased five-fold so we’re reaching out to corporations that are getting ready to recycle their computers,” Mauk said. “We provide free data wiping and free pickup for corporations. We need more computers so we can deploy them out to people in need.”
People who need computers to file for unemployment, apply to jobs, or attend virtual job fairs.
Mauk said that in Cleveland, data shows one in five households do not have a computer or internet access.
“So not having a computer or internet at home, not being able to go places like the library, or even friends houses, has really isolated folks that don’t have those connections,” he explained.
It is why Cuyahoga County and Ohio Means Jobs teamed up with PCs for People to provide free kits that include a computer and internet hotspot.
It comes with preloaded software like Windows 10 and three months of free internet.
After that, unlimited data can cost as low as $16 a month. And the nonprofit isn’t just serving Cleveland.
The free computers are sent statewide — shipped to Columbus, Toledo, Youngstown, Elyria and Lorain.
The organization also partnered with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to hand out free computers to families during free meal pick-ups when the pandemic forced schools to close.
To qualify for a free computer, you just sign up with Ohio Means Jobs.
If you’d like to purchase a low-cost computer — laptops for $50, desktops for $30 — you can head to the PCS for People store on 31st and St. Clair.
Click the link for more details.
If you’re on food stamps, Medicaid or any type of government assistance, you are eligible. Just bring in documentation to provide proof.