AMESBURY - Desktop computers, laptops, tablets and phones are critical for school and work.
For many families these devices are out of reach financially, but a Haverhill man is trying to change that with the creation of the TEK Collaborative.
"We're a non-profit, we started in 2020. Just like lots of other businesses, that through the pandemic, found that there was a huge need for devices that were internet enabled," founder Jeff Williams told WBZ-TV.
Williams, who has an IT background, started collecting devices, wiping them clean and giving them away to students and teachers who were forced into remote learning.
"Teachers, they were trying to teach on computers that they used in college,15-20 years earlier. Students were trying to learn on their parents' phones," Williams said..
The 'TEK' in TEK Collaborative stands for Technology, Education and Kindness. With those principles and some seed money from a GoFundMe, his idea took off.
"In about a 9-month period, we ended up with about 850 devices from our house. And since then, it's grown into its own non-profit organization, where we've distributed almost 5,00 devices all over Massachusetts to anybody in need. It's no questions asked, so If someone asks for a device, they get a device," Williams told WBZ.
The TEK Collaborative is now working with companies to refurbish their old computers to give to families. For Williams, it's been a labor of love.
"It's the most content and fulfilling job I've ever had in my life. Every one of these devices has the potential to change somebody's life," he said.
The free devices are not just for kids. Adults who need a device for a job search or telehealth, can also apply.
For more about The Tek Collaborative, visit their website. There's also a city of Boston program that offers up to $30 per month, per household, for internet service. You can learn more about your eligibility here.
for more features.