Guest Column: Making a difference in a down economy: Illinois phone donations help support domestic violence prevention

By Carolyn Schamberger

A woman is beaten every 15 minutes in the United States. Additionally, one out of every three women in America will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. To make matters worse, studies show that economic difficulties only worsen the problem. In a survey conducted by Mary Kay Inc., domestic violence shelters in the Midwest reported a 74 percent increase in women seeking help since September 2008. Experts believe this is due to the down economy, in which heightened stress and tensions are leading to increased incidences of violence.

Now, more than ever, domestic violence prevention and awareness programs are in need of support. Although making charitable donations can be difficult in a down economy, there are ways one can give to the cause without impacting the pocketbook. Case in point: The donation of old wireless devices and accessories is something everyone can afford.

Through HopeLine®, Verizon Wireless’ phone recycling program that collects and donates wireless phones and equipment to assist domestic violence victims, Verizon Wireless accepts no-longer-used wireless phones and equipment from any service provider, in any condition. Phones are refurbished and resold with proceeds going to provide victims with wireless phones and free airtime, as well as grants for domestic violence agencies right here in Illinois and across the country. Phones that cannot be refurbished are recycled in an environmentally-sound way. Last year, Illinois residents donated more than 40,000 no-longer-used wireless phones to HopeLine.

“We encourage all of our customers to donate their old phone when they get a new one,” said Steven McDowell, store manager at Verizon’s Rockford location, 6387 E. State St. “Domestic violence is a silent epidemic that is very real in our communities. The phones collected provide thousands of minutes of independence to domestic violence victims and help increase awareness that will help end the cycle of violence.”

HopeLine donations are accepted at all Verizon Wireless stores nationwide and through donation drives held throughout the year. Donations can also be made via a pre-paid shipping label found at Those who donate old cell phones, batteries and accessories keep the materials from potentially ending up in landfills and also support community nonprofit domestic violence prevention and awareness advocacy groups.

Since HopeLine’s national phone recycling and re-use program was launched in 2001, Verizon Wireless:

→ Has collected more than 7 million phones

→ Awarded more than $7.9 million in cash grants to domestic violence agencies and organizations throughout the country

→ Distributed more than 90,000 phones with the equivalent of more than 300 million minutes of free wireless service to be used by victims of domestic violence

→ Properly disposed of 1.6 million no-longer-used wireless phones in an environmentally-sound way

→ Kept more than 200 tons of electronic waste and batteries out of landfills.

Don’t wait—donate your old wireless phone, batteries and accessories today. It’s an easy way to get involved and make a difference in the lives of domestic violence victims in your community.

To find out more about Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine program, please visit

Carolyn Schamberger is a Verizon Wireless spokesperson for Illinois and Wisconsin.

From the May 26-June 1, 2010 issue

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