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Tampa Bay area tech companies team up to provide laptops to kids doing school at home

“We wanted to solve that problem to the best of our abilities,” he said.
Credit: eSmart Recycling

TAMPA, Fla. — Tony Selvaggio knew this school year would be challenging well before it started. The founder of eSmart Recycling, along with other Tampa Bay tech companies, made his first call to action was April.

“We wanted to solve that problem to the best of our abilities,” he said.

Millions of kids are being taught virtually this semester. It’s caused an unwanted problem for families with multiple kids and not enough computers to go around.

“There has been such a massive influx of kids doing virtual classes. There is a huge challenge regarding computers available at home. This is more prevalent on households with multiple children,” said Selvaggio, a father of two himself.

eSmart Recycling partnered with Tampa Bay Wave, Tampa Bay Tech, Think Big for Kids, and the Boys and Girls Club to do a three-day recycling drive. The drive was so successful, the groups extended it. The collected laptops and computers will be refurbished, and that equipment will be given back to the community. It will likely be housed at Boys and Girls Clubs.

“Imagine this,” wrote Tony in an email. “Mom, dad and three kids all needing a computer at the same time to work remotely, and also do virtual school. Now, imagine low-income households where there is not even a "family computer" to be able to do this.”

The goal was to receive, resurrect, and deploy 250 computers by the end of September.

“A lot of people don’t realize that simply by getting rid of that old computer that they have in their office, in the drawer, in the warehouse, in the garage, you know, they are really supporting a local grassroots program,” said Selvaggio. “One computer can really change someone’s life we have an opportunity to create a win-win-win for everyone.”

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