Garibaldi Secondary counsellor, Lindsey Heine, picks up a donation of 17 computers from Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries executive director, Mark Stewart, on Tuesday.(Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries/Special to The News)

Salvation Army gives away Chromebooks to students in need in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

70 computers will be handed out to eligible students

More than 50 students across Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows will be receiving brand new computers thanks to the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries.

On Tuesday executive director, Mark Stewart, picked up 50 Google Chromebooks from Staples in Maple Ridge that will be primarily handed to eligible high school students and some elementary school students across both communities.

But, because demand was so high, an additional 20 were purchased that will be available for pickup later this month.

Every eligible high school student from Grades 8 to 12 who applied for the computers will receive one computer per family.

READ MORE: Salvation Army expands back to school backpack program

The application process started in September. School administrators determined those most in need at their schools and filled out a simple questionnaire with the names, Grades and the school of each student.

This is the first year for the program, said Amelia Norrie, fundraising coordinator with the local charity.

It was made possible with funds received from grants and donations from the Maple Ridge Community Foundation and Kiwanis Club of Golden Ears.

READ MORE: New Salvation Army boss knows about homelessness

“The hope is that for kids who are doing distanced learning over the next couple of months or partial (distanced learning) or even just kids who are vulnerable and who haven’t had access to a computer in the past,” will benefit from the program, added Norrie.

At the beginning of the school year the Salvation Army handed out around 400 backpacks filled with school supplies like pens, pencils, notepads, erasers and markers to children in need in the community. The Back To School program traditionally serves elementary school children, even though they are given to any student in need up to Grade 12.

However, Norrie said, the need for these traditional school items decreases in high school, said Norrie.

That’s were the computer program fills the gap, she added.

Norrie is hoping that with some traction this year they will be able to double the amount of computers for donation next year.

“We won’t be able to serve all of the elementary school kids that we have had requests from,” this year said Norrie.

So, she knows that there will be a whole new generation of kids in high school next year who will be in need.

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