Written by Hunterdon County Democrat Editorial Board / Courtesy of NJ.com

Editorial: Students in need of computers and calculators; not just notebooks and pencils

Back-to-school giving drives are in high gear, and why not? Rising costs on basics such as food, gasoline and home heating are consuming increasingly larger shares of family incomes at the same time that technology is escalating the cost of heading to school well-supplied.

The efforts of those collecting and distributing pencil cases, notebooks and glue sticks are laudable, and such materials are accepted gratefully by parents. But supplies such as these are frequently sold at heavy discounts at this time of year to lure shoppers inside a store with higher-ticket items.

That’s why it’s nice to see groups such as United Way of Hunterdon County seeking costlier scientific calculators — essential in many middle- and high-school math and/or science rooms. The group also seeks donations of 2GB flash drives, a necessity for anyone who has a home computer but no home Internet access.

Some nonprofit groups and schools welcome donations of gently used computers for students. They’re not looking for the unit grandma bought 15 years ago and never used — if it has a bulky monitor that’s a clear sign that it’s ready for the electronics recycling bin. It’s the equivalent of the once good-wool sweater that’s now dotted with moth holes.

But plenty of people regularly upgrade to the newest model. If your “old” Mac, laptop or tablet really isn’t, it could mean the world to a student whose teachers expect presentations on Power Point, not poster board.

And the donation of a new one? It could open new worlds.