The Computer Re-Life Program at Ruth’s Reusable Resources in Portland helps teachers and school districts with this equipment, charging as little as 10% of the cost.

PORTLAND, Maine — For 25 years, Ruth’s Reusable Resources in Portland has been helping teachers and school districts with classroom supplies.

When the pandemic forced students and teachers out of their classrooms in March, the program saw the demand for its services spike as many people were in need of computers.

They’ve been able to meet that need and recently got an extra boost.

Chris Slader of the Computer Re-Life Program at Ruth’s Reusable Resources said he has never seen a need like there is now.

“There were a couple of teachers who were buying laptops for their students,” he said, about the beginning of the pandemic.

The teachers that the program serves still need laptops, computers, and monitors.

“They need that because they’re looking at all those kids on a little laptop screen,” he explained.

The Computer Re-Life Program helps teachers and school districts with this equipment by charging as little as 10 percent of the cost. 

In 2020, the number of requests doubled.

Slader said the state stepped up to help students with necessary laptops and hot spots in the spring.  And the program was able to help school districts supplement. 

“They were able to bring more resources together,” he said.

They take donations from local companies who need a way to recycle large quantities of equipment that still works. Companies like, Baker Newman Noyes an accounting firm based in Portland with branches across New England.

“Ruth’s has become a great partner for us,” said Dayton Benway, managing principal at Baker Newman Noyes.

They have 300 employees. Every three years, they get new laptops to stay up with the latest technology.

All those high-quality laptops now end up at the Computer Re-Life Program.

“This is just one more step in that evolution of really supporting the kids who are our future and it means a tremendous amount to us,” Benway said.

The program is always looking for donations of functioning tech equipment from local companies.

They are most in need of laptops, tablets, and monitors.

RELATED: 5,000 backpacks to be donated to Maine students

RELATED: 2018 Agency of Distinction: Ruth’s Reusable Resources