In January, Mary Baldwin University’s (MBU) Information Technology (IT) department donated some much-needed equipment to the Waynesboro Area Refuge Ministry (WARM), which provides emergency and temporary housing to individuals and families in the area.
IT Department Donates New Technology to Local Organization
February 25, 2020
It’s not the first time MBU’s IT department has made impacting the local community a priority. According to Managing Director of Information Technology Lee Reid, who has also served as a chaplain for WARM for seven years, the IT department has helped the organization in the past, coordinating food drives and packing laundry bags containing quarters and dryer sheets so shelter guests can wash their clothes. When Robert Belle, who works as WARM’s cold weather shelter manager, told Reid one of the organization’s laptops had broken, MBU’s IT department stepped in once again. They donated an HP Chromebook to replace the staff laptop, as well as two Galaxy Tab 10 tablets and two Bluetooth keyboard covers for shelter guests.
Belle says the tablets are being used during WARM’s scheduled computer hours on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. This time is designated for guests to use the technology to look for jobs or send emails to stay in contact with loved ones. Guests will also be able to apply for resources like Medicaid or the state’s rapid rehousing program, which have online application forms. Instead of guests traveling to the library to work on these forms, having the technology at the shelter allows staff to help with the applications.
“We’re not just providing technology,” says Reid. “We’re providing the means for this group to access these programs. If they don’t have the ability to put in an application, all of those resources are closed to them. This was a meaningful way for us to apply our technology from MBU to help a couple hundred people in the community.”
The new technology will also benefit the staff as more of their logs and guest intakes are being done online.
“We were using older computers that were not dependable,” says Belle. “But with this generous donation from Mary Baldwin, we no longer have to worry whether or not the technology is going to work — we know it will.”
Founded in 2012, WARM serves Waynesboro’s neediest citizens through a cold weather shelter, which operates from November to March. During the winter months, the organization provides shelter, transportation, community referrals, linens and some personal care items to homeless adults at no cost. WARM also provides temporary housing and supportive services to homeless mothers and their children in Waynesboro.