Weather Forecast


Computers, accessories sought to bridge digital divide

BEMIDJI – More computers are being sought for a project connecting people with technology needs, the United Way of Bemidji Area said Monday in a news release.

Businesses or people who can donate computers are asked to do so by Wednesday or Thursday. Computers will be refurbished and distributed to recipients on Friday.

In addition to computers, related accessories like printers and scanners are being accepted.

All equipment can be dropped off at Asgard Computers in Bemidji or the United Way of Bemidji Area office. Donations of 10 or more computers will be picked up for free.

“United Way of Bemidji Area and PCs for people asks area businesses and other organizations to identify desktop and laptop computers (eight years old or newer) that they have or will soon be retiring from service and are ready to recycle,” the news release said.

Event organizers hope to distribute 100 free computers to area low-income families and individuals who would benefit from personal computer ownership. Donations of workable monitors, keyboards and mice are also needed.

PCs for People, a St. Paul-based nonprofit, selected Bemidji to be among the Greater Minnesota communities to take part in a mobile refurbishing project funded by the Blandin Foundation and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The project seeks to reduce electronic waste while simultaneously helping bridge the digital divide in Greater Minnesota.

Technicians will wipe data, make repairs and upgrades and install a new Microsoft Windows 7 license as part of the refurbishment process. The computers will also be stored with educational games, OpenOffice, and security and antivirus software.

All computers come with a 90-day warranty and basic computer training.

Community organizations are working to identify low-income families and individuals to receive the donated computers. There is no public application process or intake for those who want to be considered for a computer.

Business looking to participate in the program and donate their equipment should contact Casey Sorensen at or by calling (612) 567-8435.

For more information about PCs for People, visit online at

This marks the second trip to Bemidji for PCs for People. Last May, the organization distributed 88 computers to families. 

Steve Wagner

Grand Forks Herald Editor Steve Wagner can be reached at 701.780.1104 and He joined the Herald in April 2013, and previously worked as editor at the Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer and in several roles -- including news director, investigative reporter and crime reporter - at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. His reporting experience includes coverage of Dru Sjodin's disappearance and the federal death penalty case for her murderer, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., along with several investigative projects. In his spare time, Wagner is an avid runner and occasionally writes about his experiences on his blog, Addicted to Running.

(701) 780-1104