Project equips seniors with phones

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, December 5, 2006

In this age of computers and telemarketing scams as well as fraudulent scams and identity theft, criminals are constantly inventing ways to take advantage of our elderly population.

Unfortunately, our senior citizens are the prime target for elder abuse, various scams, residential burglaries and physical assaults.

For this reason, TRIAD was formed nine years ago to educate the elderly on ways they can protect themselves against the criminal element.

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The local TRIAD chapter is comprised of three agencies: the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, the Natchez Police Department and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.

These agencies have linked together along with other community agencies to form the SALT Council to educate seniors about frauds and scams, identify theft, safety in the home, personal safety away from home and elder abuse.

In an effort to assist senior citizens in their own homes or away from their homes, TRIAD is sponsoring a cell phone collection campaign at various places in Natchez.

Those places include Natchez Market No. 1, Natchez Market No. 2, Piggly Wiggly, Natchez Regional Medical Center, the Natchez Fire Department (downtown Main Street and the John R. Junkin locations), the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, the Natchez Police Department, Armstrong Library, Assumption Catholic Church, Adams County Nursing Center and Track Food Store (Citgo) on U.S. 61 South.

Our area is very generous in donating to special causes. What better way to help out than to donate an old cell phone when you update your business or personal cell phones. The collection boxes are placed strategically all over town.

After a few months, the discarded cell phones will be collected at each location and sent to the 911 cell phone donation center in Ocala, Fla., to be reprogrammed to 911 only.

Then the phones will be returned to us and distributed to any senior citizen in need of an emergency cell phone free of charge.

The individual will be able to contact the local law enforcement agency by dialing 911 in case he or she encounters an emergency and is not near a land-based phone.

Let us make this cell phone collection campaign a successful endeavor. If you have any questions regarding this TRIAD project or any other questions about the TRIAD organization, feel free to call me at 601-442-5082. Remember, your discarded cell phone may one day save a senior citizen’s life.

Janet McNeely is director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.