Last week the Masonic Angel Foundation brought its Laptops for Seniors project to the Yarmouth Senior Center, when volunteers delivered the first five laptops available in town through this technology access program for low income senior citizens. Laptops for Seniors (LFS) is a spin-off of the Masonic Angels’ successful Laptops for KidZ project.
Working in partnership with the professional staff at area senior centers, Laptops for Seniors delivers refurbished laptop and desktop computers to the senior center to be sent home with low income seniors who need home computer access. As with other MAF programs for children, the Masons never learn the identity of those who receive LFS computers.
Computers are donated to the non-profit Masonic Angel Foundation and then refurbished by the MAF’s team of volunteers. Most machines are configured with either Microsoft Windows 10, which MAF receives as a non-profit member of the Microsoft Registered Refurbisher Program. Less powerful computers are configured with the Google Chromium operating system and operate much like a Chromebook. Computers that are not viable to refurbish are dismantled for parts.
Businesses often donate several computers at one time and the Foundation welcomes donations from individuals. The hard drives are wiped and overwritten on all donated computers. If the hard drive cannot be accessed it is physically destroyed.
The senior centers’ professional staff determine who receives the refurbished machines. The Masons have no contact whatsoever with recipients nor do they learn anyone’s identity. Many seniors who live in HUD-funded housing may qualify for Comcast’s $9.95 per month Internet Essentials broadband access program.
At this time the only way Laptops for Seniors are being placed is through local senior centers. Please do not contact the Masons directly. The cost of the Laptops for Seniors placed in Yarmouth is underwritten by [redacted] Masonic Lodge.
The Masonic Angels launched Laptops for KidZ in 2010 and have provided over 1,750 refurbished devices to schools across Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts. Laptops for Seniors has its own stream of computer donations and funding to cover the cost of replacement parts and software licenses.
This was not only Yarmouth's first LFS delivery, it was the first Laptops for Seniors delivery by new Masonic Angel Foundation volunteer Tom Cole. Mr. Cole, a member of Pilgrim Lodge in Harwich, recently started refurbishing computers for Laptops for KidZ and Laptops for Seniors. Thus far, he had delivered machines only to area schools.
"Tom joined us about a month ago and is a quick study," says MAF president Robert Fellows. "Tom delivered over 40 machines this week to three different schools and two senior centers. Most of these he refurbished himself."
"Tom's enthusiasm for LFK/LFS is a real boon for our organization," reports laptops project director Mario Meré. "He has learned a great deal in a short time and is a productive, dedicated worker. In an all-volunteer program like the MAF, curious, high-energy retirees are our very best workers."
Mr. Cole looks forward to working with more of the area's senior centers and to meeting the rest of MAF's local school contacts.
Both Laptops for KidZ and Laptops for Seniors have ongoing needs for computer donations.
The accept Windows laptops, Chromebooks and some desktops. Minimum specifications are a 1 GHz processor, 1 GB RAM and a 20 GB hard drive. LFS/LFK does not accept Apple products. Those wishing to donate a desktop should contact [email protected] prior to donating to go over specs.
If you have a machine you’d like to donate, you may contact the Foundation via [email protected] or leave a voice mail at 774-274-0910. All donors will receive a tax receipt letter from the Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc. once their machine goes through the intake process.