GUELPH – The Guelph Community Health Centre is collecting old cellphones to help marginalized clients stay connected.
The ‘Get Connected’ project supports low-income, marginalized clients that access services from the Guelph Community Health Centre (CHC), Guelph-Wellington Women In Crisis, County of Wellington (Ontario Works) and Family Counselling Support Services for Guelph-Wellington.
Donations will help clients:
– connect with social support networks;
– work from home and look for work;
– access safety and support services;
– participate in online learning and programs;
– access online entertainment and events;
– access health and wellbeing programs and essential services; and
– access food and emergency food support.
A local certified data sanitation company will ensure all data is scrubbed and sanitized before the phones are distributed to clients, officials say.
What’s needed are:
– cell phones in good working order (Android preferred);
– chargers and cables; and
– Canadian-purchased phones preferred.
The digital divide existed before COVID-19, but officials say the pandemic has exacerbated the effects both due to increases in poverty caused by loss of income, as well as the increased need to interact virtually to connect with family and friends, access social services, health care and crisis supports and to go to school and work.
Additionally, some populations have a more heightened need for devices and connectivity for safety reasons, such as living in an abusive or violent situation or living with homelessness.
In a press release, a Guelph CHC parent outreach worker stated, “I have a mom who could really use a phone and a talk and text plan.
“This would mean she could answer calls from her doctors, her family and children’s services worker and her kids school.
“Not to mention having one for safety reasons. At this point I can only reach her through my work Facebook account or by driving around to find her in the neighbourhood.”
There are several drop-off locations in Guelph and one in Fergus at the Skyline Community Hub at 900 Tower Street.
The agency asks donors to unlock and factory reset their phones before dropping them off.
See these links for how to: