At a time when computers have become essential for so many aspects of daily life, it’s unfortunate that nonprofit agencies sometimes don’t have the computer power they need to power their services and get help to people, a local businessman said recently.
Robert Yeagley, president of Eagle Secure Solutions LLC at 115 Cumberland St. in Lebanon, learned about local nonprofits’ need for computers from the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce and began an initiative to get refurbished computers to the agencies that need them.
“Now that there’s a growing need to work from home or to receive an education from home, laptops and desktop computers are a necessity,” Yeagley said.
Jessica Stankovich, vice president of the Chamber, contacted Yeagley for computer donation assistance after being part of a roundtable for nonprofits in Lebanon County, where she learned of a drastic need for the technology.
“The Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce holds a monthly nonprofit roundtable which allows our member organizations an opportunity to provide updates and educate each other,” Stankovich said. “That’s how we learned about the need for technological equipment.”
Yeagley has been a resource for the Chamber when it comes to technology issues, Stankovich said, so he was one of the first business people contacted.
“He jumped on the opportunity to assist nonprofit organizations and already had a laptop to donate,” Stankovich said.
At the roundtable, a representative of the Literacy Council of Lancaster/Lebanon said the council helps people with training and job skills, but when the COVID crisis hit, the Council had to shift to remote education.
“They were caught off-guard and only about 40 to 45 percent of their clients has access to a computer or could access the Internet,” Yeagley said. “I was asked if we had any extra computers to donate.”
The initiative is new, having started up only a few weeks ago, but has the potential to keep growing and help more people, Yeagley said.
Involving the community by requesting used computers and printers that could be fully refurbished and donated would address the problem on a bigger scale, he said.
“I thought, if the community would like to help, we could make it an ongoing program,” Yeagley said.
The Chamber doesn’t determine who gets the equipment, Stankovich said.
The organizations needing technology provide wish lists and the equipment that comes in will go to a nonprofit.
“We’re looking for laptops and tablets and printers are also helpful,” Stankovich said.
Eagle Secure Solutions is currently limiting the scope of their donations to local nonprofits so they don’t get swamped, Yeagley added.
In less than two weeks, Yeagley and his team have fully refurbished two laptops and a printer and donated them to the Literacy Council to help more clients work from home.
“We’re looking for nonprofits to give us a wish list; we’re asking and challenging nonprofits in a positive way,” Yeagley said. “If they have an IT wish list, we’ll try to provide for it.”
Other businesses are being asked to help, too.
The Chamber of Commerce sent out an email and a phone call to other IT providers in the county, asking for help with this initiative.
“I’ve also been trying to make people aware that we’re doing this,” Yeagley said, adding that Facebook and Twitter feeds have been helpful. “I encourage other nonprofits to reach out to us directly.
“Because of COVID, this is the hardest time, and with the sudden need for working and learning remotely, it puts a stress on getting computers out quickly to those who need them,” Yeagley said.
Exacerbating the problem is that wait time for products has drastically increased, and something as simple as a webcam can come with a two- to three-month wait, he said.
“That’s because the factories who make them have been shut down or are working at a reduced capacity,” Yeagley said.
Anyone who donates a computer can rest assured knowing their information is protected, Yeagley said, whether they need to reformat the hard drive or re-install an operating system.
“We’ve always tried to be friendly and help other people, so we’re happy to help nonprofits through this difficult time period,” Yeagley said. “We’re glad to invest in the community.”
To donate equipment, call Eagle Secure Solutions at 717-272-0073.
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