By Jessica Dean
AUDUBON, Pa. (CBS) — In Montgomery County, a team of volunteers gathers every Wednesday to bring old computers back to life. Those computers are going to people who might otherwise struggle to stay connected.
Robert Toporek gave Eddie Bivens a quick tour of a refurbished computer, which Eddie will share with his grandkids.
“They’ll love it,” Eddie said. “I might have to get a subpoena to get them off it.”
Eddie’s daughter, Noel Roberts, said, “It is a blessing, a blessing to the whole family.”
Eddie is just one of the people buying low-cost, high-quality computers at TeamChildren. The Audubon charity accepts donations of old desktop and laptop computers from corporations and individuals. The machines get new hardware and software, thanks to a team of volunteers, many teenagers and senior citizens.
“People ask me where they come from,” Robert Toporek said. “I say, ‘God.'”
Robert started TeamChildren after learning about the digital divide. Even in an age of Wi-Fi and smartphones, thousands of students in our region don’t have computers.
“The homework gap is, if children don’t have a computer at home, they have to go to the library, they have to stay after school, and they don’t get their homework on time,” Robert said.
At TeamChildren, families can get a computer at a steep discount. All they have to do is write a letter and pay an administrative fee from $65 to $225, depending on the kind of computer.
TeamChildren’s technology director Joe Granese helps match families with the computers they need.
“So now she doesn’t have to take her kids to the library. She has two computers in the house. Some of those will have learning programs for the younger child.”
The organization has distributed more than 15,000 computers and hopes to distribute many more.
“We want to make sure that every kid who needs a computer has one,” Robert said.
You can get in touch with the organization at www.TeamChildren.org and at 610-666-1795.