Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

November 10, 2022

Giving back this Veterans Day: Waterville nonprofit donates laptops for a purpose

Guy sitting with a laptop on couch Courtesy / give IT. get IT. A Waterville-based nonprofit called give IT. get IT. recently shipped refurbished laptops to 87 Afghan Special Operations veterans, including Mohammad Yaseen Mohammadi, shown here.

A Waterville-based nonprofit called "give IT. get IT." recently shipped refurbished laptops to 87 Afghan Special Operations veterans who fled their country in 2021 to start new lives in the United States.

Portrait of Chris Martin
Provided photo
Chris Martin of give IT. get IT.

The organization, which has an annual budget of $1.6 million and a staff of 18 employees, was founded in 2002 as PCs for Maine. It collects laptops and other computer equipment that it distributes to nonprofits, families and individuals in need.

While the group normally serves beneficiaries within northern New England, exceptions include its support of a Haitian social work school and the donation last month to Afghan Special Operations veterans who fought alongside U.S. troops and are now living in the United States.

For the Afghan vets, give IT. get IT. has joined forces with Honor the Promise, a nonprofit helping nearly 200 former Afghan Special Operations members and their families rebuild their lives on American soil.

"Whether we're helping older people access Telehealth services and stay connected with their families or enabling a single mother to take the online certification course she needs to land a better job, we feel good about every person we provide with a computer," Chris Martin, co-founder and operations director of give IT. get IT., told Mainebiz.

"The Honor the Promise beneficiaries are especially rewarding," Martin added, "because the computers we shipped are literally saving their lives. These brave men and women who served alongside our own soldiers in Afghanistan were almost left behind and just this summer were at risk of being deported. They needed computers to take the steps necessary to get on the path to U.S. citizenship. We're proud to help the people and look forward to seeing them build new lives here in America."

The Afghan National Army Special Operations Command was a special forces formation of the Afghan National Army, established in 2011 and effectively dispersed after the defeat of the government by the Taliban in 2021.

Afghan special forces veterans who recently received laptops from give IT. get IT., include Mohammad Yaseen Mohammadi, who is now in Houston. He said he has used his computer to apply for asylum, search the internet and take English classes.

Another recipient, Bakhshullah Nazari, said, "This computer has helped me to attend English classes, improve my language skills and find better jobs in the future."

Asked how the connection with the Afghan Special Forces veterans came about, Martin said that Honor the Promise CEO Lyla Kohistany initially reached out to Tech4 Troops, a Richmond, Va.-based nonprofit that shares his organization's mission to advance digital inclusion but specializes in veterans.

"Tech 4 Troops did not have capacity to support this effort at the time, so they referred Lyla to give IT. get IT.," he said.

Track record 

Since 2002, give IT. get IT. has processed more than 8 million pounds of electronics and helped more than 16,000 individuals with equipment. Other organizations the group has partnered with include Eastern Maine Development Corp., Maine Vocational Rehabilitation and the National Digital Equity Center.

The organization's roster of clients who recycle with the group includes IDEXX Laboratories Inc., Bangor Savings Bank, Maine General Health and Systems Engineering, according to Martin.

He said all recycling clients "trust us to pick up their surplus technology, transport it to our facility in Waterville, log every item, destroy all the data and provide a detailed, auditable report verifying whether we recycled the technology under our zero landfill policy or refurbished it into a new tool for people in need.”

"As we divert tech to reuse," he added, "we keep actual waste out of landfills and lower our recycling clients' disposal costs."

Martin said his organization also receives financial donations from businesses and individuals into a scholarship fund, to fund computers for individuals and families in need.

More information

Businesses can learn more about the recycling program here and about contributing to the scholarship fund here. 


Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF