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Pieces of Eight

ECU paralegal Dawn Gibbs oversees a campus program that provides donated cell phones for use by domestic violence victims. (Photo by Marc J. Kawanishi)

Used Cell Phones Benefit Family Violence Program

By Christine Neff

Most people don’t have much use for an old cell phone. But, in the hands of a domestic violence victim, it could be a lifesaving tool.

That’s why Dawn Gibbs, a paralegal in East Carolina University’s Student Legal Services, began collecting used cell phones to donate to the Family Violence Program of Pitt County.

She began the on-campus drive three months ago, soliciting old phones and their accessories from faculty, staff and students at ECU. So far, she has received 160 phones, 39 chargers and 15 batteries, she said.

“People upgrade their cell phones all the time,” Gibbs said. “So instead of just having the phone sit around your house, you can donate it to a good cause.”

That good cause is local victims of domestic violence. Cell phone companies activate working phones to make 911 calls only. The Family Violence Program then loans those phones to its clients for emergency use.

The cell phone companies make a small, monetary donation to the program for each phone they aren’t able to activate.

Gibbs, who formerly worked in the district attorney’s office, said she knew the needs of the Family Violence Program and wanted to get ECU involved. “I thought this would be a great way to help out the organization,” she said.

The cell phone drive will continue for three months. Phones can be delivered to the Legal Services department at 1704B Arlington Boulevard or dropped off at a donation booth set up once a month outside Wright Plaza. Drop off dates are Aug. 27, Sept. 24 and Oct. 29, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information, contact Gibbs at 737-1067 or e-mail

This page originally appeared in the Aug. 29, 2008 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at