by Simone Kaplan

Free Geek Computer Refurbishing Service

Jul 01, 20021 min
Consumer Electronics

Is your computer outdated? Do you care about the environment? Are you community conscious? Do you live on the West Coast? If you answered “yes” to any of the above, check out

Free Geek, a nonprofit organization based in Portland, Ore., takes donated used computers, refurbishes them and provides them to area residents in exchange for community service. The renovated systems, called Freek Boxes, are loaded with a GNU/Linux operating system.

Free Geek accepts any hardware, working or not, although it asks for a $10 donation to accept monitors. It then refurbishes or recycles the equipment. Free Geek has recycled more than 16,000 pieces of equipment, refurbished and donated more than 875 computers, and logged more than 20,000 hours of community service.

Not just anyone can waltz in and take home a computer. To get a Freek Box or a refurbished printer, one must be willing to volunteer for between 24 and 72 hours of community service, doing things like fixing or taking apart equipment, coordinating donations and teaching.