A hobby-turned-helping hand: Cherry Hill retiree restores used computers, donates them to students

Mike DeNardo
December 01, 2019 - 4:30 am
Marc Goldstein, who refurbishes and donates computers to students through the nonprofit ComputerSmiles.

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Marc Goldstein's living room is loaded with computers.

“I'm going to say we've probably got 100 to 125 computers. My basement probably has close to 100 monitors,” said the 71-year-old.

Computers have been Goldstein's hobby for 35 years. So two years ago, when he retired after 50 years in the wallpaper business, the founder of the nonprofit BookSmiles — which distributes used books to needy kids — suggested that Goldstein do the same with used computers.  

And voila, ComputerSmiles was born. To date, he has refurbished and given away nearly 250 computers.

He takes donated desktops and laptops — generally about 4 or 5 years old, mostly from businesses — checks their components, wipes the hard drives, and gives them to students or families in need. When he gives a kid a computer, he guarantees that he or she will have a working computer all the way through high school graduation.

Goldstein remembered the first computer he gave away in Lindenwold: “The family was so happy. The kid was so happy. And it was just like, wow. This was one of those really feel-good moments.”

“The more we do it, the more people we make happy. And that brings us happiness,” he added. “It is so rewarding that it's addicting.”