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The Free Geek TechNOW Drive hopes to close the digital divide for students across the state.

COURTESY PHOTO - The devices donated during the Free Geek TechNOW Drive are then refurbished and distributed to nonprofits, schools and community change organizations.

Intel is partnering up with Free Geek to minimize the digital divide for students during the coronavirus pandemic.

For 10 days, Intel and Free Geek will be running a series of contactless drive-thru technology collection sites across the Portland metro area. All the devices that are donated go to Free Geek, an organization dedicated to reusing technology, enabling digital access and providing education.

The devices are then refurbished and distributed to nonprofits, schools and community change organizations.

"The requests (Free Geek) was getting went from 300 devices a week to 3,000," said Intel's Oregon community engagement manager, Donna Maleki.

Maleki said the Oregon Department of Education told her that students needed 75,000 computers to increase social distance learning.

Once Intel saw the need, the Free Geek TechNOW Drive was born with the help of local businesses such as First Tech Federal Credit Union, Oregon Business Council and Pacific Power. The goal is to collect 10,000 devices — laptops, cellphones and tablets — through both technology and financial contributions.

COURTESY PHOTO - The Free Geek TechNOW Drive is a 10-day series of contactless drive-through technology collection sites across the Portland metro area.

"We can't do it alone," explained Maleki. "The beauty of Oregon is that we've got all of these businesses and all of these people who are coming together to help our community. … Whether to donate their technology, make a financial contribution or just kind of spread the word however, they can participate."

People can only donate laptops, cellphones and tablets as donations. No TVs or other electronics will be accepted.

Locally, devices will be collected from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Intel's campus in Aloha on Saturday, June 6, and Sunday, June 7, as well as outside Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro.


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