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Seniors receive gift of computers

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, December 14, 2013

During the Christmas season, much of the focus is on helping needy children have a good Christmas.

But Pamela Brown of Chico wants to make sure another group is not left out of the celebration: senior citizens.

Computers for Christmas

COMPUTERS FOR CHRISTMAS – Pamela Brown helps seniors choose their computer at Thursday’s party at the Decatur Senior Citizens Center. She’s spent the last six months collecting and upgrading computers for the project. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“I think these people are just as worthy of a good Christmas as the kids,” she said Thursday at a Christmas party at the Decatur Senior Citizens Center.

Behind Brown were several rows of tables filled with computers. She’s been collecting and upgrading the donated desktops full-time since July to give to senior citizens in the Decatur area.

At the end of Thursday’s party, participants drew numbers to determine the order of choosing one of the nearly 40 computers that were collected.

Brown said she tries to do a project for senior citizens every year if she can, and she normally picks a different community each year. For instance, a couple of years ago, she provided lap Afghan blankets to seniors in Bridgeport and gave the rest to Meals on Wheels to pass out to their clients.

Three of the computers will be left at the Decatur Senior Citizens Center, and Brown said she hopes to find a business that will pay for a year of DSL.

“Several didn’t sign up for a computer because they have the attitude of, ‘I’m too old for it.’ But the computers here at the center will give them an opportunity to see, ‘Yeah, I really can do it,’” Brown said.

While the computers will allow the seniors to play games, those who can connect to the Internet would also have a new way to stay in contact with friends and family.

Brown said she used social networking to seek donations, and all of the donated computers came from individuals. Donations came from Wise County and also Weatherford, Azle, Springtown, Haslet, Justin and Roanoke, she said.

One problem she ran into was that most of the donated units had the older, large monitors rather than the newer, flat-screen monitors. She was concerned that the large monitors would be too heavy for many of the seniors to handle, so she ended up buying most of the monitors herself. She also used her own funds to purchase much of the software and parts needed to rebuild some of the machines.

Those who were not interested in a computer did not walk away empty-handed. Brown went around to local businesses and was able to collect donations for gift bags.

After all the work she put into the project, she was afraid the computers might not get to be handed out at the party due to the parking lot being covered in ice after the recent winter storm. But Brown said she talked to the city and was thankful workers were able to clear the lot and the ramp in time for Thursday’s party.

Everyone who indicated they wanted a computer got one, and in fact, Brown had a few left over. More donations of computers came in during the days leading up to the party, so she said she will most likely do the same project again sometime next year in a different community.

She is still accepting donations of computers, laptops, monitors, speakers or monetary donations to be used for the project. To donate, call 940-399-8053.

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