Tech Drive Tuesdays collection drive benefits schools
Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, Minnesota Computers for Schools and KARE 11 are teaming up for Tech Drive Tuesdays. People can donate their unwanted or unused technology to ensure kids across the state have access to reliable computers and technology that keeps them connected this coming school season. Affinity Plus in Baxter will host a collection drive from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25.
A local credit union in Baxter will be doing its best to bridge the digital divide by hosting a technology collection drive at its facilities to benefit schools in the state.
Tech Drive Tuesdays is a partnership between Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, Minnesota Computers for Schools and KARE 11 to collect unwanted or unused computer equipment.
“The purpose is to ensure kids across the state have access to reliable computers and technology that keeps them connected this coming school season,” said Hillary Kline, a spokesperson for the St. Paul-based not-for-profit banking institution.
Tech Drive Tuesdays have occurred at other Affinity Plus locations, but it will be the first time the collection drive will be at the Baxter location near Jack Pine Brewery off Highway 371. It will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25.
“We had some very successful days in Grand Rapids and Coon Rapids with over 300 cars lining up in Coon Rapids to make donations, so great turnout at multiple places,” said Jamy Olson, branch manager of Affinity Plus in Baxter.
The purpose of the collection program is to help children statewide learn and stay connected, especially as more students participate in distance learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think it’s something everyone can relate to when you go to clean out the back of your closet and you find old computer equipment that you kind of didn’t know you still had where you had upgraded to a more comfortable mouse or keyboard, or upgraded to a new tablet and just threw the other one in the back of your closet and it’s still laying there,” Olson said.
Minnesota Computers for Schools recycles and repairs donated computers and repurposes them to provide technology access and skills training to people who need it most according to the Minneapolis-based organization.
“While we don’t know what this coming school season will look like, we do know that families and schools are always in need of technology to ensure kids have access to the world around them,” Kline said.
Every Tuesday through September, the credit union will accept equipment donations at its various branches on designated event dates listed at www.affinityplus.org/tech-drive . (Computer donations will not be accepted outside the designated tech drive dates and times.)
“So go ahead and kind of dig through and see what you have that would still be in working condition. Otherwise, we can usually repair items, too,” Olson said. “It is also just a nice way to make sure that these items aren’t ending up in landfills.”
Equipment that will be accepted includes laptops, desktops, servers, computer towers, LCD monitors, networking equipment, smartphones and tablets (reset phone and tablets prior to donating), and mice and keyboards.
“It can be repurposed and refurbished and combined with other items to make a working item, or if it’s beyond repair they can even use the pieces for recycling and make money off of recycling,” Olson said.
Telephones or telephone-switching machines, televisions, stereos, household appliances, DVD or VCR players, printers, and copiers, scanners and fax machines will not be accepted at the tech drives.
Monetary donations will be accepted at all Affinity Plus locations statewide until Sept. 1, and Affinity Plus will match the first $25,000 that the credit union receives.
“It’ll go right to the Minnesota Computers for Schools because even though they get all of these items, they still need people who know how to work on the item and then just buy some of the equipment that can’t be collected from a household,” Olson said.
Minnesota Computers for Schools is dedicated, for example, to computer security. Each computer hard drive of donated equipment goes through a rigorous scrubbing process at the organization that complies with U.S. Department of Defense standards.
“That’s where they will, of course, clean the item — not just physically but removing any digital items off of there that they need to clean up — and then they’ll rebuild them and give them out to families in need all through the entire state of Minnesota, so it is possible that one of your devices could end up back here in Brainerd,” Olson said.
Tech Drive Tuesday in Baxter
The Tech Drive Tuesday event in Baxter will occur in the parking lot of Affinity Plus and feature contactless dropoff. Donors should place items to be donated in their vehicles’ trunks and label all items to be donated “Tech Drive Tuesday” and then pop their trunks upon arrival at the site.
“So no lifting for you. We’ll take care of all of that and then you can just drive right away in your car — didn’t even have to find a parking space,” Olson said of donors that will be handed a receipt for their possibly tax-deductible donations.
Donors should look for the purple Affinity Plus tent along with volunteers in the Affinity Plus parking lot. Volunteers will direct motorists to the parking spot designated for dropping off donations.
“We’re just really excited to be able to help kids — as they get back to school, no matter how they’re getting back to school — have the technology to be able to do that,” Olson said.
If you go
What: “Tech Drive Tuesdays” computer equipment collection drive.
When: Noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25.
Where: Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, 15524 Edgewood Drive, Baxter.
Items: Laptops, desktops, servers, computer towers, LCD monitors, networking equipment, smartphones and tablets (reset phone and tablets prior to donating), and mice and keyboards.
- More info: www.affinityplus.org/tech-drive .
FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchFL .