"ComputerCorps, food bank serve up bytes with tasty bites"
By: Sheila Gardner, RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL 2/20/2003 11:58 pm
ComputerCorps officials, whose goal is to put computers in the hands of those who can’t afford them, say they have a new mission.
Through a partnership with the Food Bank of Northern Nevada and the culinary skills of 71-year-old chef Dorsey Jackson, volunteers are served a free gourmet lunch every day.
|What’s the Good Book say? If you’ve got a gift, share it, said Jackson, who has been a chef for 50 years. I enjoy it.
Jackson moved to northern Nevada from California three years ago after his wife died. He was looking for something to fill the hours and a year ago found his way to ComputerCorps, where executive director Judy Norton put him to work feeding volunteers. Before Jackson’s arrival, Norton and other volunteers were preparing the food.
At the end of last year, the Reno-based Food Bank began providing free food to ComputerCorps for volunteers’ lunches
He makes a black bean soup to die for, said John Boling, the all-volunteer agency’s technical director.
Jackson prepares 20 to 50 hot lunches a day for the ComputerCorps volunteers feeding children, retirees, disabled, veterans and seasonal workers.
What’s on for tomorrow? Boling asked.
Can’t tell you. I will have to see what I’ve got, Jackson said.
From a tiny kitchen Thursday, Jackson prepared eggplant parmesan, soups, garlic bread and other dishes. The food is donated through the Food Bank partnership program with emergency food assistance pantries, rehabilitation programs, shelters, low-income day care centers and senior nutrition programs.
The Food Bank is a godsend, Norton said. Everything we do is through the grace of God. If God doesn’t provide, we wouldn’t be here.
ComputerCorps trains volunteers to repair, refurbish and update donated computers, provides training and technical support to individuals and community organizations, returns refurbished and upgraded equipment to the community at little or no cost, and recycles unusable equipment.
Norton and her husband, Ron, were in bank financing in California before they moved to Carson City. ComputerCorps was born when the Nortons gave her father an old computer. ..Twelve... years later, her father, now 84, is still using the computer and the Nortons’ vision has expanded into two Carson City 20,000-square-foot warehouses shoulder high with computers and parts.
We’ll take anything, she said.
Nothing from ComputerCorps ends up at the dump except paper waste; the donated computers are fixed and returned to the community or stripped for recyclable parts.
We take in 500 to 1,000 computers a month and send out 300 to 400 a month, Norton said. In four years, more than 800 volunteers have donated 130,000 hours, she said.
Some, like Boling, came to the ComputerCorps to fulfill a community service requirement and never left.
I had some trouble over a traffic ticket, and I got 40 hours of community service. That was three years ago, I should be getting out anytime now, he laughed.
Dave Nelson, 73, a retired Carson City school district custodian, calls himself the inventory specialist. He started volunteering about three years ago and oversees the strippers, who remove and categorize useable parts from the thousands of computers, monitors, printers and hard drives. A recycling company from California collects unusable parts to extract metal byproducts. Some 450 vintage computers are tagged for the ComputerCorps Museum.
Norton said ComputerCorps is the only agency she knows of that processes used computers on such a major scale.
Every business you can think of donates here, she said, including the state of Nevada and Microsoft.
ComputerCorps concentrates on providing computers and training low income, at-risk children and their families, physically and mentally disabled people, displaced workers seeking new skills and adults age 50 and over.
Programs include Techs-In-Training for 15- to 18-year-old students and a summer camp for the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada.
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