DTES cell-phones for seniors program off to strong start (via News1130)

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130, December 23rd, 2013) – A campaign linking used cellphones with low-income seniors on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is off to a great start, according to organizers. More than 500 old phones have been donated so far.

The phones serve as a lifeline to emergency services for those who can’t afford a cell of their own.

The campaign was conceived by Sarah Blyth, a senior outreach worker with the “Portland Hotel Society” and chair of the Vancouver Park Board.

She calls the response overwhelming. “The program has really been received well and we’ve had, you know, all of our boxes at the locations have been filled up by citizens of Vancouver who wanted to help out so it’s been really, really great.”

“Wavefront” has donated 300 of the phones which will be presented to seniors ahead of a special bus tour of the Bright Nights Christmas lights at Stanley Park.

“Just yesterday, someone came to me and said, ‘I’m in my apartment and I have [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease] and it’s a bit scary not to be able to call 911 when I need to,’ so that’s the kind of situation that we’re going to help people with,” explains Blyth.


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