Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Friday, June 30, 2000

Release #244-00

Contact: Sunny Mindel/ Mary Lasher (212) 788-2958


Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani today announced that the P.H.O.N.E.S. program (People Helping Others in Need of Emergency Services), which ran from April 1 through May 15, was successful in collecting more than 18,000 used cellular telephones. The collected cellular telephones are being re-programmed by Verizon Wireless, formerly Bell Atlantic Mobile, to dial 9-1-1 only and will be distributed to victims of domestic violence, senior citizens, crime victims, livery cab drivers and others in need of emergency services.

Mayor Giuliani said, "18,000 phones will help thousands of New Yorkers by bringing them a valuable life line to emergency services. We want to thank the people of New York City for their overwhelming generosity, allowing us to nearly double our original goal for this collection drive."

Initiated by the Mayor's Commission to Combat Family Violence, which coordinates the City's domestic violence programs, the month-long P.H.O.N.E.S. program was launched April 1 and continued through to May 15. New Yorkers were asked to donate their unwanted cellular telephones at one of more than 300 locations including police precincts, firehouses and movie theaters. The program's original goal was the collection of 10,000 phones.

More than 1,000 telephones are currently being distributed to the community, and each week hundreds more are being reprogrammed by Verizon wireless. Individuals or organizations needing reprogrammed phones can visit the City's web page for more information at or call 212-788-7878.

Deputy Mayor Anthony P. Coles said, "The P.H.O.N.E.S. program's success resulted from a partnership between countless businesses throughout the community and numerous City agencies. I want to express my appreciation to the people of New York City for their generosity by donating their cellular telephones."

"These phones provide victims of domestic violence with an additional safety tool," said Rhea Mallett, Executive Director of the Mayor's Commission to Combat Family Violence. "Thank you to Verizon Wireless and the other sponsors for their assistance in making this the largest Citywide cellular telephone drive in the nation."

"On behalf of all the employees of Verizon Wireless, I congratulate Mayor Giuliani and the team of dedicated City professionals who pulled together to make this massive phone recycling effort a success," said Charles Hand, president, New York Metro Region, Verizon Wireless. "We already are hard at work refurbishing the first of these 18,000 phones and will work diligently to turn them around and get them into the hands of the people who need them."

Though the official P.H.O.N.E.S. program is over, the Mayor's Commission to Combat Family Violence will continue to accept unneeded cellular telephones at their offices. For more information about the program or to inquire about receiving a phone call 788-7878.

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