Lt. Gov. Simon: HopeLine drive collects 2,000-plus cell phones


                           Matching money to benefit domestic violence agencies


Springfield, IL – More than $10,000 will be given to domestic violence agencies in Springfield and Chicago thanks to the HopeLine phone drive sponsored by Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon and Verizon Wireless.

Simon’s office collected more than 2,000 outdated wireless phones from state employees, agencies and the public during the first full week of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

About 1,000 phones will be shipped this week to Verizon. Most will be refurbished or sold with the proceeds used to purchase newer wireless phones for domestic violence survivors. Verizon will also donate $5,000 each to the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) in Springfield and the Metropolitan Chicago Battered Women’s Network.

The remainder of the phones, which are still trickling in this week, will raise money for the Jackson County Crime Victims Emergency Fund, a joint operation of the Carbondale Police Department and Jackson County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Phones that can’t be refurbished will be recycled in an environmentally sound way, Simon said.

“These phones will be a lifeline for the people who receive them,” said Simon, a former Jackson County prosecutor and founder of a domestic violence legal clinic at Southern Illinois University School of Law. “We thank our private, state and non-profit partners for working with us to find an innovative way to fund important community services. We hope to make this an annual event.”

Each recipient has earmarked the donation for specific social services. ICADV will use the funds to develop a virtual legal clinic for victims of abuse. The Network plans to use the funds for its Domestic Violence Court Watch Project. The Carbondale emergency fund provides direct assistance to domestic violence survivors and other crime victims.

Since 2001, HopeLine has collected more than 8 million wireless phones, awarded more than $10 million in cash grants to domestic violence organizations throughout the country, and by the end of this year will have donated more than 106,000 HopeLine phones with 319 million minutes of airtime to victims, survivors and domestic violence organizations.

“I am so thrilled at the generosity of Springfield area residents and for Verizon for providing this opportunity,” said Vickie Smith, CEO of the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “This endeavor creates a lifeline for victims in danger and allows the Coalition to support our local agencies. The simple act of donating an old phone is a double gift.”