Have an old cell phone? Victim Services is accepting donations

Victim Services of Waterloo Region is accepting donations of used cell phones because of an urgent need to support individuals with safety concerns in the event that they need to call 911

Cell phones have the capability of calling 911, even without a phone plan.

Victim Services of Waterloo Region is accepting donations of used cell phones to support individuals with safety concerns in the event that they need to call 911.

People can donate phones in a gently used condition. Victim Services of Waterloo Region asks to include a charger if possible and to clear all personal information through the manufacturer reset, found in ‘settings.’

“This isn’t something new. We’ve been doing cell phone drives annually, multiple times throughout the year depending on the need,” said Bruce Moffat, executive director at Victim Services of Waterloo Region.

“But right now, there is an urgent need and people can donate anytime.”

Victim Services of Waterloo Region is a community based non-profit organization that provides support and services to victims of crime and tragic circumstances within the Region of Waterloo.

Services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist victims, family members and witnesses.

Staff and volunteers are available to assist members of the community, local businesses, agencies and services in accessing information and assistance in a variety of areas including suicide, homicide, break and enter, family crisis, and intimate partner violence.

“When we receive phones, we test them with the dispatch center at Waterloo Regional Police Service to make sure they can connect to a 911 dispatcher when making a call.”

Moffat said this is something that the organization has provided over the last number of years.

“It began out of a need of people who don’t have phones or for those in our Victim Quick Response Program, which provides a phone and limited ‘pay as you go’ minutes for victims in intimate partner violence situations,” Moffat said.

“When people are not eligible for these types of situations, we do try and keep an inventory of phones for those experiencing domestic violence or some other safety concern and who do not have the ability to contact emergency services,” Moffat said.

Moffat said that having a phone is an important piece of a safety plan.

“Even in situations where victims might have a cell phone but their abuser is monitoring calls, we can provide another phone as an additional piece, an emergency go to, so that if they are fleeing a situation, they have a phone.”

Moffat said Victim Services of Waterloo Region wants to reach out to as many people as it can, especially to those who may not be eligible under other programs.

“When the phones are tested and ready to go, we will have them on hand as requests come in,” Moffat said.

“If people do have a spare phone, maybe it’s outdated or just sitting around, it can certainly be put to use and can help provide a sense of safety for an individual.”

Used phones can be dropped off at various locations throughout Waterloo Region including 176 Hespeler Rd. in Cambridge.

For more information about Victim Services of Waterloo Region, visit here.

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