By Libby Hopkins
In today’s economy, everyone could use a little help, even nonprofit organizations. Gene King of Brandon started Computer Acquisition and Placement Program, Inc. (CAPP) back in 1996 when he was a police officer with the Tampa Police Department. He is currently retired from the force but is still the president of CAPP. The program got its start as a Community Policing Program with the Tampa Police Department and it was very successful at facilitating several computer labs at various local recreation centers and schools and providing computer technology to individuals throughout the community who qualified for the program. “Our mission is to enrich the lives of those less fortunate,” King said. The program does this by using community-minded volunteers and donors to recycle computer hardware and amateur radio equipment back into the community to promote computer literacy and the hobby and service of amateur radio to member of the community. To date, CAPP had distributed more than 1500 PC’s to those in need.
The economy has taken many hits over the last few years and those hits have affected CAPP. King said it’s getting more difficult to get “good donations” and this is taking its toll on the program. “As you know, our economy has been off for several years now and good donations are a premium these days,” King said, “Most individuals who donate their computers wait until they are not able to be refurbished or recycled.” He said it’s also getting harder to get donations from corporations because they have so many restrictions or have switched to leasing which means it has to turn them back in instead of donating them. King wants to put out a plea to the Brandon community for help with CAPP. “We currently have a need for six good laptops in order to fill a request,” King said, “The laptops will be refurbished and recycled back into a parks and recreation summer program for kids.” He said the program can also use desktop computers and monitors as well. “It seems that when flat screen monitors came out, we stopped getting working monitors,” King said. The program also has a request for a small computer lab for a program that will benefit inner-city children in Tampa. “Our hope for CAPP continues to be what it was from day one,” King said. “To facilitate the donations of computers and related equipment so that we can assist those in the community who lack the ability to afford today’s technology.” To learn more about CAPP or to donate, you can visit www.cappinc.org.