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Verizon Wireless recycles phones for domestic violence victims

“Better matters.”

That’s Verizon’s slogan and the company is trying to live up to it through one of its programs called “Hopeline.”

Hopeline is where Verizon takes customer’s old phones, batteries, chargers, even phones from other carriers and recyles them.

The money that comes from recycling all goes toward phones and monetary support for domestic violence victims.

“We use those monies to actually give phones, to provide phones, to victims and survivors of domestic violence,” said Lucius Williams, district manager with Verizon. “As well as we use that for the monies to give cash grants to different organizations that provide a safe place and a safe haven for those survivors and victims.”

In honor of October being domestic violence awareness month, the Hopeline program is back again. Williams said they also partner with the NFL year-round to put donation boxes and information on donating at games as well.

“I think it’s rewarding for Verizon employees to be able to give back to the community in this way,” Williams said.

According to statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women and one in four men experience domestic violence.

Williams said Verizon wants to be a part of the community and give back and helping all those victims is one way it tries to do that.

Family Services Alliance in Pocatello, a victims’ advocacy center, said while phones might be the donation tool you immediately think of, it’s a valuable one for victims.

“Put yourself in the position of a domestic violence victim who’s maybe residing in an emergency shelter,” said Sarah O’Banion, executive director for FSA. “Typically, shelters are an unknown location so they’re disconnected from their friends and family. They might be looking for employment, they might be looking for housing, they might want to connect to friends or family or church members and they don’t really have access to a cellphone because sometimes, in a domestic violence situation, cell phones are destroyed as a way to maintain control over another person.”

Williams said so far, the response from the community for donations has been great.

“It’s been really alive,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of help from our customers and not just our customers but customers from other carriers and competitors. So we see a lot of people really want to lean in here on this subject because it’s hit a lot of people close to home. And so we’ve seen a lot of people come in and we’re super grateful.”

Since the Hope Line project started in 2001, Verizon has collected more than 12 million phones to recycle. It’s donated more than $29 million in cash grants to organizations and groups for domestic violence victims. Verizon has also given out 190,000 new phones to shelters for victims.

Recently, Verizon’s Hope Line program awarded the Women’s and Children’s Alliance in Boise $10,000 in cash grants, as well as hundreds of free phones for victims.

To donate, simply take your old phone into a corporate Verizon location and put it in the domestic violence donations box. Williams said you don’t even have to clear it if you don’t want to, they take care of all that as part of the recycling process.

If you don’t have a location near you, you can call Verizon’s customer support line at 1-800-922-0204 and request a mail packaging slip. They’ll send you a package for you to put your phones, batteries, and/or chargers in and safely ship in back. No postage is required through Verizon.

You can also donate old phones to places like Family Services Alliance, who uses them as 911 phones for victims to call loved ones or even the police for help.

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