Saying that "millions of old cell phones in drawers and closets throughout the country can be put to better use," State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer (D-Mamaroneck) today urged her constituents to donate their unused phones and batteries to the Secure the Call Foundation.
The nonprofit group collects and distributes used cell phones to individuals and organizations for use as emergency phones.
"I do this to help others and to protect the environment," said Senator Oppenheimer. After inspecting and cleaning the phones and charging their batteries, the Foundation converts them into free 911 phones, which may be used to contact emergency services, even without a carrier plan.
"These phones are then distributed by Police Departments, Sheriff's Offices, Battered Women’s Shelters, Neighborhood Watch Groups, Community Service Organizations and Senior Citizen Centers," Senator Oppenheimer said. "If you have a cell phone, help is always nearby."
Senator Oppenheimer urged immediate participation in the program, noting that the Foundation has received far more requests for cell phones than it currently has.
"We know that there are seniors, school crossing guards and potential victims of domestic violence who are all in need of a cell phone. Your old cell phone can have a new life and, quite possibly, save a life, too," Senator Oppenheimer said.
The Westchester lawmaker noted that even defective cell phones may be donated, as minor repairs could lead to converting them into 911 only phones.
Cell phones may be sent free of charge to the Foundation by visiting www.donatemycellphone.org  and printing a prepaid postage label. The donations are tax deductible and donors may print a donation acknowledgment receipt right from the website.
For more information on the program, and to learn how organizations can also participate in the collection effort, interested individuals may call 1-888-88 DONATE.