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2003 News from Mecklenburg County

April 7, 2003


Phones Used For 911 Emergency Calls and Fundraising

Charlotte, NC - In an effort to give domestic violence victims assistance in calling for help and to raise money for domestic violence programs, the Mecklenburg County Women's Commission is collecting used, unwanted cell phones. Many of the phones go to domestic violence victims for use in emergency situations, with others sold to provide funds for shelters and social service providers.

The Women's Commission is working with Shelter Alliance in the effort, tapping into an estimated 30 million idle phones sitting in drawers and closets nationwide. More than 200 organizations nationwide collect cell phones for 911 emergency purposes and fundraising.

Some of the phones are provided to domestic violence victims or potential victims to call 911 in the event of an emergency. A cell phone can be programmed to call 911 at no charge, regardless of whether the user has purchased a service plan or not. The phone simply needs to be fully charged. Emergency 911 services are automatic on any home or business phone where previous phone services had been in place, whether there is a dial tone or not.

Many of the phones are sold, with the proceeds distributed to domestic violence prevention organizations. The Women's Commission receives compensation directly from Shelter Alliance, which refurbishes and distributes the phones for use. The money collected by the Women's Commission is earmarked for a variety of Mecklenburg County domestic violence prevention programs.

Phones can be dropped off at the Women's Commission office at the Hal Marshall County Services Center, 700 North Tryon Street in Charlotte, between the hours of 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. For more information, call 704-432-1568.

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