Nonprofit provides Maine schools with low-cost technology upgrades

Published: Mar. 27, 2019 at 5:04 PM EDT
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A Portland-based non-profit dropped off hundreds of used computers for schools in the Bangor area and beyond.

Jeff Wheeler, IT Director for Hermon School Department, was there for the first dropoff. "We have just received our latest shipment of hardware from Ruth's Reusable Resources."

Chris Slader from Ruth's Reusable Resources was excited to make the delivery. "They're getting like 300 computers and 350 monitors, so large quantities."

Ruth's Reusable Resources brought a truck up from Portland full of more than 1,100 computers, monitors, and other equipment sourced from large businesses who are upgrading.

"It's been three or five years, they're off their lease or they're into a refresh, and schools would love to have most of this technology." says Slader.

Hermon School District has been getting technology upgrades from Ruth's for sixteen years.

"All of our students, all of our teachers, all of our administrators and staff will be affected by this one upgrade. That's amazing." says Wheeler. "We're talking about a few thousand dollars and a district is upgraded."

Eastern Maine Community College, Washington Academy, Maine Robotics Orono, and schools in Jay, Bucksport, and Millinocket are also receiving equipment.

"This year, we happen to have way more than we expected," says Slader. "So what I've done is try to find homes for them."

The total resale value of the equipment is around $120,000, but the combined cost to all the schools is under 10-grand.

Carolyn Harrington is the Technology Coordinator at Washington Academy. "This means a lot. You know you can take some equipment that obviously still has life left in it. They're great quality machines, and we can put them to use down in East Machias."

Tom Bickford of Maine Robotics in Orono says the tech will be invaluable for their summer camp programs.

"They take the components that we get from places like Ruth's and they build a computer. And at the end of the camp, they get to take that home and that becomes their computer."

Ruth's has been providing technology to Maine schools for 23 years, but Slader says they're hoping to expand their reach.

"I'd love to be able to get deeper into the corners of Maine and down into New Hampshire."