Cell Phone Drive to Benefit Domestic Violence Victims

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This year, Domestic Violence Awareness Month coincides with the ABA’s National pro bono week which occurs from October 24 through 30, 2010. The ABA’s Domestic Violence Commission is encouraging women’s bar and law student associations around the country to host a Verizon Wireless HopeLine drive to collect cell phones to help domestic violence victims. I hope you will forward the following information to any organization that you think might be interested.

Extensive information about the HopeLine phone recycling program can be found here, including how to obtain brochures promoting the drive, and options for dropping off phones or mailing them. The donated wireless phones and accessories in any condition from any wireless carrier will be scrubbed of personal information, refurbished, and sold for reuse, and those without value are recycled in an environmentally sound way under a zero landfill policy. Proceeds from the sale of refurbished phones are used to provide free wireless phones and airtime to victims of domestic violence. Wireless phones and technology can serve as a vital link to emergency or support services in a time of crisis or as a reliable, safe connection to employers, family and friends as survivors rebuild their lives.

To date, more than 7 million phones have been collected, and over 90,000 phones with over 300 million minutes of free wireless service have been distributed to victims of domestic violence. Verizon Wireless has also awarded cash grants of more than $7.9 million to organizations working to prevent and raise awareness of domestic violence since 2001 through HopeLine. In addition, this project has properly disposed of 1.6 million no-longer-used wireless phones in an environmentally sound way and kept more than 200 tons of electronic waste and batteries out of landfills.

While the current focus is to host a drive in October, obviously whenever donations occur they will be appreciated and the website has free mailing labels for individuals who wish to donate.

- Myrna Raeder

Myrna Raeder is a Professor of Law at Southwestern Law School and a member of the ABA Domestic Violence Commission. -ed.

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