Free Geek burglarized

By Pete Forsyth of Portland, Oregon. Pete is a computer geek, a political activist, and a Free Geek volunteer.

Last weekend, Portland's unique non-profit Free Geek suffered a disheartening burglary.

Free Geek serves the community in important ways: it keeps older computer equipment out of landfills, and provides working computers to community organizations and to its volunteers. In the process, it provides free computers and computer training to its many volunteers, and exposes them to the benefits of free and Open Source software.

An Oregon original, Free Geek has developed drawn international attention. Organizations modeled after Free Geek have sprouted up in places like Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Washington.

The burglars stole equipment valued at $4500. Damage to the facility is estimated at about $1500. The newly established Laptops Program, providing free laptops to organizations like Lower Chinook Tribe, National Council of Jewish Women, Veterans for Peace, and Bolivian Medical Exchange, felt the greatest impact.

If you or your workplace have unneeded computer equipment on hand - especially laptops - now would be a most welcome time to donate it to Free Geek, and would help them get back on their feet. (Note that there is a mandatory $10 fee for all non-flat-panel monitors.) Monetary contributions are also encouraged; the organization hopes to recover the $6000 lost to this burglary by the end of the year, and has already received about $1200 toward that goal.

Read more here.

  • Lc Scott (unverified)

    The Story of Free Geek getting burglarized just pisses me off.

    When I first found free geek they helped me find some rather odd parts, after that they have always been on my donate list.

    I have some parts I can freely part with. As soon as I can find away to get them there. They will have them.

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    I was really saddened to hear about the burglary. It always makes me mad when this happens to groups whose sole purpose it to help others.

    We have computer equipment that we're going to be sorting through to see what can go over to Free Geek. We could use a few extra hands to see what is usable for our needs, and what works but isn't right for what we need.

    We'd like to get the work done this coming weekend so we can get the equipment donated.

    If you want to help, give the office a call at 503-248-0826 (the work is being headed up by Ellen and I at Mult Dems). Then we can give you the details on when and where.

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    Canonical, the company that funds the Ubuntu operating system (among other projects) has contributed $1500 to mitigate the losses from the burglary - bringing Free Geek much closer to its $6000 goal!

    Jenni: cool, I can help two of my favorite groups at the same time? Count me in! I'll call tomorrow.

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