Bridging the digital divide

By Diamond | Nov 03, 2016

Dear Readers,

Diamond received a letter from a disabled reader who was looking for a used free computer in order to keep her connected to her community. In order for her to receive a computer, someone must donate one. You can be sure that there are others who need them, too. There is a “Digital Divide” that refers to those who live in rural areas, are economically challenged, and have no access to technology or insufficient access to technology.

With an ever-increasing stockpile of discarded equipment of e-waste that is only going to get bigger, wouldn’t you love to donate your used equipment to someone who will use it? Every year in the US, there are between 300 million and 400 million electronic items dumped and less than 20 percent of that e-waste is recycled. Perhaps you have recently upgraded? Not sure what to do with the older equipment? Someone who lives in your county is in need of it.

But before you pass it on to someone else, first have your data cleared from it. Just transferring the data to a thumb drive is NOT enough because your info still remains on the hard drive. You may pay a computer expert to clear your hard drive on an older computer starting at roughly $40. You could consider that cost as part of your donation. Or you can purchase software that will erase everything.

The National Cristina Foundation ( is a non-profit that is on a mission to increase technology access and literacy at the same time. It “specializes in technology and computer donations with a focus on helping the disabled and disadvantaged in our communities. They partner with charities in all 50 states, Canada, and many other foreign countries. This organization was founded in 1984 and was one of the very first to provide this kind of service. Now they have expanded their efforts to include the needs of schools and training facilities all over the country. They have partnered with the Information Technology Exchange in Belfast.

Right now they are in need of computer equipment donations. Information Technology Exchange is very adept at reconditioning computers for their clients - Pentium 3 desktops, laptops or newer - but cannot locate enough of a donation supply of these items - largely because of Maine's rural nature. What they don’t use, they dispose of responsibly.

You may make your computer donation at:


156 Searsport Avenue

Belfast, ME 04915 (Route 1, across from the Fireside Inn)

(207) 338-4233



Web URL:

Hours of Operation: Weekdays, 8a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed some federal holidays.

Saturdays by appointment.


To my reader, Christine:

Your question is important for two reasons. First, it may alert a reader to donate their gently used computer to someone. Lots of people update their equipment regularly and the old computer may still be perfectly usable.

Second, this question may help someone else to access a used computer. Diamond will post information on how to locate one next week.

Thank you for reaching out with your question, Christine. You are helping others with it.

With grace and peace,



Dear Readers,

Men and women, guys and girls, have written to Dear Diamond because they want to meet someone. Each week Diamond will post an event that’s appropriate for single folks. Not exclusively for singles, but very appropriate.

Just get out there and mingle, folks. You just never know who will be there.

Journey to Health Walking Club, 4:30-5:30 p.m. Tuesdays in Waldo County and Thursdays in Knox County. Led by health & wellness staff. Kids welcome. Walk locations are listed at

Wednesday Walkers, guided morning hikes at 14 land trusts from Camden to Brunswick through November. Subscribe for weekly details:

Advice appearing in Dear Diamond is for entertainment only and does not reflect the views of Courier Publications or its editorial boards. This column is not intended to replace the services of medical, financial or legal professionals.

Contact Dear Diamond:

Ask Dear Diamond your question. Diamond responds to all who write in. Participation in Dear Diamond is always anonymous and free.

Snail mail: 91 Camden St., Suite 403, Rockland, ME 04841


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