Donate a Laptop Computer
to Help Troops
Stay in Touch with Loved Ones

Have an old used laptop computer gathering dust somewhere, but don't know how or where to get rid of it? Here's some great news! You can now donate a laptop to help troops stay in touch with loved ones at home.

JDS Computer Donations is a Michigan-based nonprofit organization that accepts donations of used laptop computers, rebuilds them, and then sends them to deployed military units. James Payne, president of JDS, is a Vietnam veteran, so he knows how important it is to troop morale to hear from loved ones at home.

The group accepts donations of laptop computers, which it refurbishes and donates to nonprofit groups, public schools, and most recently, to deployed military units. Nearly 500 of the refurbished machines already have been sent overseas to help service members keep in touch with their loved ones back home.

Payne and his volunteers have received many responses from grateful servicemembers, some of which you can read on the JDS Computer Donations web site. One from the Executive Officer of Company A, 50th Signal Battalion, is a good summary of the sentiment expressed by others.

"On behalf of the soldiers, NCOs, and officers of Alpha Company, 50th Signal Battalion, I want to express how grateful we are for the donation of laptops to our unit," said Army 1st Lt. Benjamin Quimby. "Especially with the price of telephone minutes being so high, being able to use computers to communicate to loved ones back in the States is a convenience that we do not take for granted.

"Your effort in supporting our deployed soldiers is inspiring and represents the true heart of the American people," he concluded.

JDS Computer Donations is part of the Any Soldier Inc. support team. Both JDS Computer Donations and Any Soldier Inc. are supporters of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.

Remember to Remove Personal Data

Just remember to protect your data and personal information so that it is not recoverable by the next person who uses the computer. There are two ways to do that: you can remove the hard drive and donate the computer without it, or you can use a utility program to wipe the hard drive and overwrite the data you placed on it.

If you remove the hard drive, be sure to remove only the drive itself, and replace the rails and screws that hold it in place. JDS reports it has had to discard computers that were donated with the rails removed. When this is done, there is nothing there to hold a new hard drive, and the machine is basically worthless.

If you used a utility program to wipe the hard drive, you will want to use a program that meets DoD standards to be sure the data is not recoverable. If you don't, be aware there are programs out there that will allow someone to recover as many as five layers (or more) deep! And forensic experts (law enforcement) can recover material buried deeper than that! So, make sure the program you use meets or exceeds DoD standards.

For instructions on how to wipe your hard drive, and a review of a program you can use for free, go to, a web site operated by a computer expert friend of ours who also happens to be a retired Air Force crew chief. You'll find lots of useful computer information there.

So help yourself and others at the same time! Get rid of that old laptop you didn't know how to dispose of, take a tax deduction for your charitable contribution, and help deployed service members keep that vital link to home, all at the same time. Win, win, win!

For instructions on how to donate your laptop, please send an e-mail message to: JDS_Computers AT (symbol replaced to prevent spambots from picking up the address -- when you type the e-mail address, replace word "AT" with the @ symbol, and don't leave the spaces.)

Thanks for helping us support those who serve.

Before you write us to ask how you can get a laptop for your unit, read this page on donating laptops. It will answer your questions, and give you some fundraising ideas. Be sure to let us know about your success.

We are not aware of ANY organization that donates computers to individual soldiers, except for some specialty laptops provided to severely wounded warriors.

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For those of you deploying soon, and wondering how you might raise enough money to buy a new laptop to take along, we offer some fundraising ideas.

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