OTTAWA -- A call has been put out for gently used and useable phones, laptops and tablets to help others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The devices are being collected for front-line social service and mental health workers who are having difficulties connecting with their clients.

Twenty-eight groups in the Ottawa area have registered with the United Way East Ontario and Ottawa-based company Ruckify, in an initiative to distribute the devices.

The Ottawa Youth Services Bureau is one of the 28 groups looking to get devices out to their clients. They say they have had to switch all of their in-person counselling services to virtual sessions, but reaching youth in distress who may not have access to technology is their new challenge.

“Work might have come to a halt, school might have come to a halt, they’re dealing perhaps with some other difficult issues as well. It really means that they’re very isolated, even more so than some of us would be”, says Patti Murphy, Youth Services Bureau Executive Director.

Devices can be donated through Ruckify’s website. Ruckify’s drivers will pick up the sanitized devices left on doorsteps, and then re-sanitize them before distributing them to groups in need.

Here are some of the groups helped through the initiative:

  • Interval House Ottawa
  • Youth Services Bureau
  • Entraide Budgetaire Ottawa
  • Family Services Ottawa
  • Lanark County Interval House
  • Lanark Country Seniors Agencies
  • Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres Ottawa
  • Coalition of Community Houses
  • Operation Come Home
  • John Howard Society
  • Somerset West
  • Orleans Cumberland and Rockcliffe Rideau Resource Centers
  • Meals On Wheels
  • Carlington Community Centre
  • Eastern Ottawa Community Resource Centre
  • Rideau Rockcliffe Community Centre
  • Nepean Rideau Osgoode Community Centre
  • Orleans Cumberland Community Resource Centre
  • Pinecrest Community Resource Centre
  • Vanier Community Service Centre
  • Lowertown Community Resource Centre
  • Youth Service Bureau
  • Blanca Desjarlais
  • Babies Who Volunteer
  • Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard
  • Youturn Youth Support Services
  • Connected Canadians