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PCs for People fills need

Melissa Geller was the first to receive a new computer through the PC’s for People program on Friday afternoon at the Paul Bunyan Mall, helping her was computer technician Christian Rugel. PC’s for People partnered with the United Way to refurbish 100 computers and distribute them to low-income people or individuals in need. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – “The timing couldn’t be better,” said Melissa Geller, after receiving a free computer through the PC’s for People program. “I have no battery life on my old computer and I’m taking online classes through Northwest Technical College-Bemidji.”

 United Way of Bemidji, working with members of the PC’s for People program, organized distribution of 100 free computers to area low income families, and individuals who would benefit from personal computer ownership.

“We partnered with PC’s to help bring a successful event to the community and legitimize the free service,” said Tanya Hasbargen, executive director of the United Way of Bemidji Area. “It took time and effort to pull this all together, but this shows we care for our community. The   caring also included the Paul Bunyan Mall supplying the facility, Century Link providing the internet access and members of the Civil Air Patrol helping carry their computers out to their car.”

PC’s for people mobile refurbishing set up shop in the old Patterson’s store at the Paul Bunyan Mall. The refurbishing included securely wiping data, making any necessary repairs of upgrades and installing Microsoft Windows licenses.

Marsha Ness was a recipient of a new computer. “This is for my son; it will be his learning tool,” she said.

According to Hasbargen, they didn’t reach their goal to collect 100 computers, but PC’s for People stepped up and contributed computers to make their goal.

“We hope to bring them back in 12 to 18 months, so if businesses or individuals could hold onto their old computers it would just make it more successful next time,” said Hasbargen.