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Free laptop, tablets or desktop computer.

Find places to turn to for free desktop or laptop computers along with other electronic devices, such as a tablet or a Chromebook. While these devices are not easy to find, there are charities, businesses, as well as government affiliated programs that can provide them for educational or work reasons, with a major focus on helping students in grades K-12 to get free tablet or laptop so they can work at home. Even if a low income family can't find a free computer, then there may be some places that can sell them a unit at a greatly reduced price including the federal government.

The low income can turn to a charity or non-profit, such as the Salvation Army, for a free computer. Community action agencies or workforce centers may also pass them out to adults for work. Or there can be free laptops and tablets give away at a local school in partnership with the United Way. Computers can also be found on websites, won through promotions, or at other locations such as a furniture bank. Some organizations may also provide refurnished (used) computers for free.

Find free computers at charities and non-profit agencies

Sometimes volunteering at a local non-profit or charity may allow the individual to get a few computer. There are thrift stores that will sometimes donate surplus, or unsold computer equipment, to the staff that work there. Or they may incentivize people from the community to work at the store by providing them significant discounts on any items they purchase. Some sites will even go so far as offer volunteers a free computer to take home with them. There are advantages to those people that volunteer at a local thrift store site as they can often learn of these deals.

Charities may provide free desk or laptop computers, and these will often operate at the local level. So that means a Salvation Army center in one city may provide free computers while a center in the neighboring town may not. The same concept applies to other charity programs too. Each church and Goodwill site will also have their own criteria in place as well to people applying for a free desktop computer or for individuals seeking a laptop. So there is no quick and easy answer for anyone trying to find how to get a computer.

Churches and faith based groups can provide free computers or allow a parish member to use one. Volunteers may collect surplus electronic items from the community, or they hold fund raisers in partnership with businesses such as Amazon or Apple or a local school district.

So there are many tools that a church or religious group (such as the Jewish Federation) will use to obtain refurnished laptops or other items. However in general, these agencies such as Catholic Charities, St. Vincent, and others will provide a free laptop or tablet to a student from a family living in poverty or to someone who needs one for a job.




Some other faith based centers, even including the Salvation Army, have also been known to loan a laptop or desktop out to a client as well until they can afford to buy one of their own. This may be in addition to the other forms of assistance they provide. To learn more or to apply, each potential client will just need to check in at their local charity to check. Find a listing of Salvation Army programs.

Students, ranging from those in elementary to high school or even college students, can also be given free tablets or laptops. While the chances of getting the latest Apple I-Pad or Samsung Galaxy are rare, there are many charities, such as the Salvation Army, that operate annual back to school programs. They use partnerships from stores such as Target, Best Buy, or even Staples to provide free electronics to students from working poor households. Students of all ages in all grades may be given a free tablet or Chromebook so they can do remote work from home. Find back to school programs.

Government run programs may offer discounted laptops, desktops, tablets, Chromebooks and more. There are programs such as the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) that provide cash assistance to low to middle American households, and in some cases enough cash is provided to allow the computer to be free. There is also help in paying for internet connections. Learn more on how to apply to the Affordable Connectivity Program.

Find free refurnished laptop computers or desktop systems

E-Waste Technology Buyback programs are held by a number of different businesses. The programs can be run by major computer corporations such as Dell, Apple, or Lenovo, stores such as Best Buy, as well as environmental groups. What these services do is buy back either unwanted or older computers, TV, laptops, cell phones and many other electronic items from people that no longer want them. They do this to, among other things, ensure they are properly disposed of and not just tossed into some landfill.

The companies that run these buyback programs may do a few things with those computers they buy back. They may either donate to them for free to charities such as the Salvation Army, Goodwill or even local churches, or they may break them down for scraps. Each company has their own policy in place. But the end result is these used computers may then be given to everyone from senior citizens to the unemployed or students.







Anyone seeking more information on these programs should really call the company's customer service number. The first ting to do is ask if they run an E-Waste program, and if the answer is yes, see if they provide those used laptop or desktop computers or devices for free to a low income family.

Low cost refurbished computers are more widely available, especially at second-hand stores. These can often be found at places such as Goodwill thrift stores or clothing closets and even some online retailers. They will generally either sell a “bare bones” laptop for a decent price or an inexpensive desktop. Only in rare cases may they provide a family with an emergency voucher which can pay for the computer, but some second hand stores have been known to give free laptops in a crisis. In general, a non-profit like Goodwill may give an adult a free desktop or laptop computer for work reasons.

Once advantage of using a local thrift store or even a clothes bank for a computer is there will be no income limits in place. But if a voucher is needed for the electronic device, these will be difficult to obtain. They are normally limited for exceptional circumstances, such as the disabled that need the computer for assistive technology, students that were faced with a disaster and now need a new laptop but they do not have any money, or other circumstances. Anyone can shop there, and find more on free clothes closets and thrift stores.

One innovative source for a free computer or really any items is the Freecycle Network. This is a non-profit made up of millions of individuals from around the world. They collect surplus items in an effort to keep goods out of landfills. It may be possible to get a free desktop computer, cell phone, TV, laptop or tablet, cars, clothing, and much more from the network. More information can be found at

It may be possible to get a free (sometimes used or sometimes new) laptop computer from an online website or app. There are different rewards, surveys, and product testing events that people can do. The sites will not only pay out cash, but they can give away goods including electronics, laptops or electronics for free, and much more. Find free apps for winning rewards or money.

While it may not be that easy to get a free new computer due to the prices often involved, there are many options that can assist. It is always recommended to apply early and to be prepared with proof of income, need, and residency. The programs listed above may assist.

By Jon McNamara

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