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If you have an older vintage Mac at home, you have like me been frustrated that Apple no longer supports these older models for operating system updates. This means that many software packages will no longer run.

A program started by Dave Moore and Tom Palka at the Salida Sunrise Rotary is breathing new life into these old machines to provide a functioning computer to needy youth in the community to assist with their educational opportunities, and for them to acquire additional computer skills.

Moore and Palka initially received 25 responses in a week from an ad run on the Facebook: “Salida Sell and Swap” group asking for older iMac computers to be donated to this program. These computers were then wiped clean and set up with an open-source modern lightweight operating system called Lubuntu. This operating system is very lean and makes those computers run much faster than the modern Windows or Apple OS/X systems.

The iMac computers have WiFi (the family has to have internet access already), Bluetooth, and a CD/DVD drive. Installed software that runs under Lubuntu includes Firefox and Chrome web browsers, LibreOffice which is an open-source Microsoft Office clone, Zoom for video conferencing, and a bevy of other applications for a student’s uses.

COVID-19 has placed us all in our homes much more than we ever anticipated, and in many cases, family income has been drastically reduced. Moore and Palka believe that this program meets a significant need in our community and through Sunrise Rotary, they hope to expand to provide more computers through a scholarship program. Funds will be used to refurbish donated iMacs and purchase other suitable machines from eBay. These refurbished computers will be provided to qualified families in the community and used to extend educational opportunities and computer skills.

When William Stokesberry, Chief Technology Officer for Salida School District R-32-J was approached for comment on this program, his initial response was “Awesome! That is a Great Idea.”

It only costs about $150 per computer to purchase an old iMac and equip it with new peripherals. Community members who may have an old iMac to donate, or would like to provide funds to support this program can find out more information at https://portal.clubrunner.ca/8364/SitePage/apple-a-day-project or contact Dave Moore at mooreflyfish@gmail.com.