Over 1,0000 students, families, individuals and non-profits are enjoying newly refurbished computers this year thanks to TDI Connect.
TDI Connect, or Trenton Digital Initiative, is a project within United Way of Greater Mercer County. Made-up of all volunteers, the organization has been repurposing old computers donated by local businesses and distributing them to parts of the community in need.
“We are tremendously appreciative of our all-volunteer team and how they give of their time during this most unusual situation,” said Ray Ingram, volunteer coordinator of TDI Connect.
Throughout the current COVID-19 pandemic, remote working and learning has increased within our community. Mark Iorio, Chair of TDI Connect, said, “We are experiencing a very significant increase in requests for PCs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Partnered with greater Trenton school and community initiatives, TDI Connect is seeking to increase virtual connection in our city.
Since partnering with Mercer County Community College (MCCC), TDI Connect has been able to reach hundreds of college students. According to Danielle Garruba, Director of Student Life and Leadership at MCCC, 303 desktop computers have been distributed to Mercer students on behalf of TDI Connect.
Each computer donated is refurbished with a new solid state disk drive (SDD) and loaded with open source software so that there are no software licensing issues for the recipients. As part of the standard computer set up, each computer also contains common browsers, graphics and Microsoft Office compatible software. Iorio said, “Using the very efficient xUbuntu version of Linux makes the machines perform really well and typically can give the PCs another three to five years of active life.”
In addition to providing the physical computers for residents in need, TDI Connect has been working in conjunction with the Comcast Internet Essentials program to help qualifying people in gaining high-speed internet access at only $9.95 a month.
Although TDI Connect is extremely proud of the 1,000 computer benchmark they have reached and are thankful to the community for their support, the organization realizes this is just beginning. Iorio said, “It is wonderful to have worked with so many partners to get 1,000+ PCs to the community, but we need additional donations of 500 laptops and desktops just to meet the requests already received.”
If you are a business or organization looking to donate used computers, or an individual in need of a computer, please visit tdiconnect.org for more information.