State Senator Bill Perkins (D-Harlem) believes that the nation’s 45 million old cell phones can serve an important purpose when retooled as emergency phones for those who would be in need of its services.
To that end, Senator Perkins urged his constituents to donate unused phones and batteries to the Secure the Call Foundation.
"As an owner of a cell phone, I rely on it to help me stay in touch with my colleagues in the Senate as well as what’s going on in my district," he said. "I also know that it’s an important tool to have in the event of an emergency.
"For many of our most vulnerable citizens, split-second access to 911 is critical and can literally mean the difference between life and death," Senator Perkins continued. "That’s why I support the Secure the Call Foundation’s efforts in collecting and distributing previously unused cell phones for emergency use."
Senator Perkins said that the Foundation inspects and cleans each phone - and charges the battery within it - before converting them into 911 emergency phones, which may be used to contact emergency services, free of charge.
"Given a new purpose, these phones are distributed by law enforcement agencies, domestic violence shelters, senior citizen centers and other civic groups and organizations to individuals who need them," Senator Perkins said.
Senator Perkins said the Foundation has received far more requests for cell phones than it currently has, and encouraged New Yorkers to donate their old ones to help close the gap. The Manhattan lawmaker added that even defective cell phones may be donated, as minor repairs could lead to converting them into 911 only phones.
"Your unused cell phone could turn out to be an important lifeline to seniors, school crossing guards and victims of domestic abuse. New Yorkers always step up to help others in need and this is a simple way to do just that," Senator Perkins said.
Cell phones may be sent free of charge to the Foundation by visiting www.donatemycellphone.org  and printing a prepaid postage label. 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.