Group collecting cell phones for seniors

Published 2:30 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Instead of throwing away an outdated cell phone, donate it to a Natchez group and save a senior’s life.

That’s the thought behind Natchez-Adams County TRIAD’s phone collection program.

The group is collecting used cell phones. They’ll have them refurbished and programmed to dial just 911. Then, they’ll hand them out to seniors who can use them in emergencies.

Email newsletter signup

The group was formed nine years ago, partnering with the Natchez Police Department and Adams County Sheriff’s Office to help senior citizens.

The phone collection is one of their ongoing projects, TRIAD Chairwoman Janet McNeely said.

“We will send them to a company in Ocala, Fla., and they will refurbish them,” McNeely said.

The free phones handed out will have the ability to call 911, a feature that might help someone in need, she said.

“It’s a good thing to have for those who can’t afford a cell phone,” McNeely said. “They can keep them with them, if they’re going outside and if they fall, all they have to do is press 911. It could save a life.”

When seniors are given a 911 phone, TRIAD volunteers will explain how it works and how to use it.

Drop boxes for cell phone donations are scattered around town, at Piggly Wiggly, the Citgo gas station on U.S. 61 South, both Natchez Markets, Assumption Catholic Church, the Armstrong Library, the police department, the fire department, the sheriff’s office and the senior citizens center.

McNeely said the group would take any kind of cell phone, along with its charger.

“We’ve had all kinds,” she said. “We’ve had the heavy duty ones from 10 years ago to the little bitty ones that fold over. It really doesn’t matter. Whatever they’ve got, we’ll take.”

The cell phone donation program, which started in December, has already collected 92 phones. When the group has 100, they’ll send them off to be reprogrammed.

“They’re just trickling in a little at a time,” she said. “It’s building up, but we can always use more.”

The phone collection program has no deadline, McNeely said.

“We’ll keep it going as long as the community will let us, as long as they keep donating,” she said.