September 20, 2008

Donation Dip Puts Glitch in Goodwill of Southwestern Pa. Program

By Tony LaRussa

A program that provides jobs for people with disabilities and trains welfare recipients to enter the work force is experiencing a computer glitch.

Officials from Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania have issued an emergency appeal for donations of old computers that can be repaired and resold, or disassembled and recycled.

"Donations have declined, and our Computer Recycling Center is almost out of material for the clients we employ," said David J. Tobiczyk, Goodwill's vice president of marketing and development.

"We hope this appeal will motivate people and companies to help us out. We really need more computer donations immediately in order to keep our clients working -- both from individuals and businesses and organizations that want to get rid of large quantities of computers at no cost."

Goodwill will make arrangements to pick up computers, and can provide a receipt for donations, which are tax deductible, Tobiczyk said. Low-priced computers that have been refurbished are available at Goodwill's computer store at 2600 E. Carson St. in the South Side.

Since it began its large-scale computer recycling operation in 2006, Goodwill has processed about 3 million pounds of old computers and other electronic devices that might otherwise have ended up in landfills.

Goodwill employs about 30 clients a day in its computer recycling program. About 400 welfare recipients have completed their federally mandated work hours at its Computer Recycling Center by sorting and disassembling so-called "e-waste."

During the recycling process, computer hard drives are wiped clean to Department of Defense standards to protect the privacy of donors, Tobiczyk said.

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