Hundreds of people across the GTA responded to a call from rental firm Ruckify, United Way Greater Toronto and the City of Toronto for donations of cellphones, tablets and laptops needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hundreds of devices from old iPhones to brand new smartboards were donated by individuals and businesses within the first weeks of the drive's launch in June, according to a Ruckify news release.
"These devices will provide an immediate lifeline to groups in the city that need it the most and will help support frontline social service workers to reach their clients and ensure we are not leaving our vulnerable behind."
United Way has worked within its network to determine community needs and last week the first round of donations were distributed by Ruckify to a range of organizations, including food banks, resource centres, and community social and family service centres across the GTA.
“In this current reality, we know how vital it is for individuals and families to stay connected to social support through online services. To do that, people need access to technology. This partnership with Ruckify and the City of Toronto will help United Way agencies continue to support people," said Ruth Crammond, vice-president, community investment and development, United Way Greater Toronto.
"We heard first-hand from service providers at our community response tables that the need for technology is growing for things like online counselling, check-ins with isolated seniors and so much more.”
Social service providers and vulnerable groups that rely on their services have continued to struggle to go fully virtual for their appointments and essential programs during the pandemic due to a lack of access to technology.
Ruckify’s rent anything marketplace facilitates the rental and delivery of everyday items, ensuring a safe and insured donation, whether it be permanent or temporary, according to the news release.
As restrictions ease, the long-term impacts of the pandemic will continue to be felt by those struggling with economic, social, or mental health issues, and the need to deliver virtual care will not fade anytime soon. The tech donation drive will continue to run throughout the summer and beyond until the needs of these community groups have been met.
“Ruckify’s strategy since the beginning of this pandemic has been pretty simple: Care. We took a brief moment to pause in March and then asked ourselves as a company how we as community citizens could genuinely help. How could we use our peer-to-peer rental platform, our services, and our human resources for good? We truly felt if we could help in a moment of time when our community needed us the most, we could grow as a company because of the true value we are able to offer,” said Bruce Linton, co-founder of Ruckify.