Calgary

Demand surges for donated laptops as Alberta school kids adapt to learning at home

An electronics recycling organization in Calgary says demand is way up for its refurbished computers as school kids stuck at home because of COVID-19 try to keep up their learning.

'A lot of families don't actually have access to laptops,' says electronic recycling group

A Calgary non-profit group that refurbishes electronics is working to get laptops in the hands of children who need them to study at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

An electronics recycling organization in Calgary says demand is way up for its refurbished computers as school kids stuck at home because of COVID-19 try to keep up their learning.

Jessica Lifely, marketing manager for the non-profit Electronic Recycling Association, says online learning is the only option for most kids right now.

She says requests for laptops have jumped from one or two a day, prior to the pandemic, to more than 50 requests every day. 

"A lot of families don't actually have access to laptops and computers," she said.

"And previous to COVID-19, they would have attended libraries that were open to the public. With COVID-19, libraries have closed. So they have resorted to their mobile phones to get their kids' homework done."

The association's lend-a-laptop program offers free or low-cost computers to qualified families.

"Kids need to do their schooling. And they need to connect to their families. They need to Skype call their grandparents — make sure they are OK in their homes," she said.

"Technology is forever changing, it's forever growing, and a laptop is an essential need, in my opinion."

The association is continuing to accept donations of used electronics.

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