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Gifting Technology to the Less Fortunate

This is the time of year when we can all thank our lucky stars for our current situation, and prepare for the onslaught of the holiday season. Most of my readers here are technophiles like myself, so I'd like to point them -- and their older, gently used computers and related gear such as game consoles, smart phones, routers, wireless access points, and so forth -- at some charities to which they can donate such gear to help those less well-endowed with gadgets and goodies.

My own favorite charity here in the Austin area is Reglue which, in its own words, "gives free Linux computers to under-privileged children and their families." Over the past decade, I've given them at least half-a-dozen laptops and a handful of desktops, plus oodles of hard disks, SSDs, RAM, motherboards, routers, and more, which they've either sold to raise money to support their mission, or gifted directly (or indirectly) to kids in need of computing resources to help them with school and life.

Reglue's icon shows "Linux with a heart!"

You may not be inclined to reach out to Reglue if you're far from central Texas (though I read about people all over North America donating to this organization) so you may want to seek out a more local organization upon which to bestow your older computing gear. Right after New Year's is the busiest time of year for such organizations, as brand-new Christmas presents crowd out older, less state-of-the-art, but still usable computers, tablets, smartphones, and so forth. If you would like to help out the folks at Reglue, you can reach them through their contact page, by phone at the number shown on their home page, or through their physical location by US Mail at 307 Ferguson Street, Taylor, TX, 76574.

Finding local charities in your area is probably best accomplished by asking around, reading purely local newspapers or similar publications, or getting creative with Google (or your favorite search alternative). It's good to look for a fully-recognized 501(c)(3) charitable organization, because that will give you the ability to get a tax deduction for both in-kind and monetary gifts you make to them. Just make sure you get a receipt for any in-kind contributions you might make, and explain how you set a value on your gifts (FWIW, I usually use the lowest available eBay "buy it now" price for the same or similar items to establish value (not auction price, which is often a meaningless come-on).

Another option is to remember that Goodwill Industries is an authorized recipient of ewaste and electronics of all kinds. This means you can take non-functional older technology items to them, as well as stuff you can't sell or give away, and it will be recycled as much as possible, with what remains behind disposed of safely and properly. Goodwill is also a 501(c)(3) organization, so you can take a tax deduction for your contributions to them as well. They will sell stuff that still works at bargain prices, so while it's probably not as satisfying as directly helping underprivileged students as Reglue does, it's still by no means entirely nugatory.

Please: keep this in mind as you start considering what to do with your old computing and technology gear, as you make room for new gifts and purchases arising from this year's holiday season.