#391: Helping Domestic Violence Victims
Monday, August 09, 2010
Nearly seven years ago when I was in law enforcement I was talking with a judge after court one day. A victim advocate from Safehouse of Seminole, a shelter for women and children victims of domestic abuse, joined us and said they were in desperate need of cell phones for their clients. That started me on a new community service mission to collect as many as I could to help.
Over the years more of the shelter's clients have come in with their own cell phone and as other area entities and people contribute their old cells, the mission has turned from donating cells to recycling the ones collected through a company that pays for unneeded cell phones. This has generated checks for Safehouse for the past several years.
Tonight as I boxed up the latest collection, I wondered how many of the shelter's clients have benefited from the community's efforts. I know of one personally and have heard from the shelter's director of others but what I wondered was how these women and children benefited emotionally from having the means to dial 911 if they were again confronted by their abusers. Theirs will be stories I will probably never learn but I am convinced in my heart that the time and gas to continue this project is worth the effort because it fulfills the last part of my past agency's mission statement to "reduce the fear of crime."
Estimates are that millions of old cell phones and batteries are tossed in the trash every year, polluting landfills everywhere.
If you have unneeded cell phones, please consider checking with your county for a domestic violence shelter and donating the unneeded phone. You'll clear space in your home, save your local landfill and benefit someone who has suffered abuse.
And, if you'd consider starting your own collection drive, the money raised from recycling the phones will go a long way toward helping shelters with day-to-day expenses including buying toys for the kids, personal grooming products and other necessary items. A computer search of recycling companies will reveal many or if you want the name of the one in Texas I use, please SparkMail me.
Helping those who can not help themselves will pay benefits to them and to you for a long, long time.