Just another dropâ€¦
How many of us have cell phones? Now, what do you do with your old phone when itâ€™s time to get a new one? Well, youâ€™re not supposed to just throw them in the trash, and unless youâ€™re a phone-programming whiz kid, they usually contain more information than you want to have floating around for just anyone to pick up, andâ€¦
Verizon Wireless has a solution for you. It costs you nothing, and itâ€™s one of those drop in the bucket things Iâ€™ve mentioned before. Itâ€™s called HopeLine and itâ€™s a phone recycling program that uses refurbished and recycled cell phones to help victims of domestic violence.
What was that? Verizon does what? It works how? Is that what that little stand in the corner of my Verizon store is all about? Yeah, I know, the first time I heard of it, I had endless questions, and if youâ€™ll bear with me through some facts here, weâ€™ll soon get to the really cool stuff – making a difference!
HopeLine collects used wireless phones – regardless of maker, provider, etc. Verizon uses them to help victims of domestic violence. Older, unusable phones are disposed on in an environmentally friendly manner. Hope Line accepts phones, chargers, headsets, batteries, and even pagers – again, regardless of maker or service provider. If youâ€™re missing pieces, or the phone is broken, thatâ€™s OK too, it all goes to help.
The statistics are scary, one in three American women report being abused at some point in their lifetime and a little over 1/5 of full-time employed adults report they have been a victim of domestic violence. Those numbers are staggering, but, youâ€™re asking, how will my old cell phone help? Itâ€™s a worthless piece of junk, right? How does this help victims?
Well, after being rebuilt, those phones are sold or donated. Phones and grants are given to participating domestic violence agencies. What kind of difference can that make? Itâ€™s not uncommon for someone who has recently left an abusive relationship to have no means of contact with the â€œoutsideâ€ world.
The donated phones provide that vital lifeline. Access to a wireless phone, service and a voicemail box can help a victim rebuild their life and give them means of communicating with family, friends, agencies, shelter staff and employers – in short, it can help them to be a survivor.
Verizon has distributed over 40,000 wireless phones with service; in 2006, more than 16,000 HopeLine phones were currently in service across the country. The HopeLine phones feature 3,000 anytime minutes, voicemail, nationwide coverage, call-forwarding, call-waiting, three-way calling, and perhaps most importantly – caller ID.
The phones are only provided through participating agencies, and user information is completely protected. You can find information on how to participate at the Verizon web site, as well as links to the HopeLine corporate partners, which are more than worth checking into.
It would be easy to go on and on about the good this program is doing. It would be easy to tell story after story of lives changed, battles won, of all of the terrific things going on with this program. But then Iâ€™d be rattling on forever, and you can get all of this info and more online.
The next obvious question is how do I participate? How much is it going to cost me? Well, if you participate by donating your old phone at your next upgrade time, it costs you precisely zero. Thatâ€™s right. Nothing.
You simply drop your â€œwipedâ€ phone and any accessories into the little box in the Verizon store. You can also mail the phone, click here for the address. If you donâ€™t know how to â€œwipeâ€ your phoneâ€™s memory to remove all personal information, ask at the Customer Service counter, they can do it for you. It also gets cleared out in the refurbishing process.
What else can you do? Oh, Iâ€™m so glad you asked! HopeLine does not accept financial donations, but you can hold a phone drive at your office, school or even from home and Verizon will help you plan it, just fill out the form on the Contact Us page. Talk about simple. And itâ€™s something nearly everyone has these days – spare cell phones, pagers and other parts.
Just another drop in that bucket.
Are you currently in need? If this is not an emergency, any Verizon Wireless user can dial #HOPE (#4673) and then send, to be connected to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, where they can receive confidential help, information and resources. The call is toll-free and so are the minutes. Non-Verizon customers can dial 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
By the way, if youâ€™re surfing the Verizon site, there is a handy little red â€œEscapeâ€ button – if you click that button, it takes you immediately away from their site to a different and “safe” appearing site.
Obviously, anytime there is an emergency and you are in immediate danger, dial 9-1-1.