Townhall II cell phone drive continues

Erica Weisburn

Collection aims to help curb domestic abuse in Portage County

Ohio Domestic Violence Statistics


Calls – 71,946

Arrests – 38,512

Fatalities – 427


Calls – 72,929

Arrests – 37,137

Fatalities – 157


Calls – 101,580

Arrests – 49,441

Fatalities – 129

Source: Ohio Domestic Violence Network’s Web site

Townhall II wants to reduce the number of domestic abuse cases in Portage County, but it can’t do it alone.

QuJane Gordon, coordinator of Townhall II’s advocate program, said she needs help from the community. By donating an unwanted cell phone that can be used for emergency calls, she said someone could save a life.

“Any phone that can be powered on can be used for 911 emergency calls,” she said. Townhall II charges the phones, if possible, and removes the owner’s contacts before distributing them.

She said she prefers all the phones to include batteries and chargers, but they will take cell phones in any condition.

“Damaged phones and those with missing parts can still benefit domestic violence victims,” Gordon said.

Townhall II, which offers counseling and assistance to the community, has only one drop-off location but is encouraging area businesses to participate in the drive, Gordon said.

Townhall II is located at 155 N. Water St.

The organization sends those phones to Shelter Alliance, a business that recycles cell phones and pays organizations in return.

Kelly Lopez, one of its customer service representatives, said Shelter Alliance works with about 3,000 nonprofit and service organizations, 80 percent of which use their profits for domestic violence programs.

But Townhall II doesn’t only provide this service to domestic violence victims, Gordon said.

“Anyone who needs a cell phone to use for 911 services is welcome,” she said. Townhall II has also distributed phones to those involved in dating violence and stalking victims.

Last year, Townhall II distributed more than 200 cell phones to the community and has received about $2,000 from Shelter Alliance for damaged phones, anywhere from 50 cents to $40 per phone, Lopez said.

Because most victims have to leave their abuser’s house without time to get their belongings, Gordon said the money is used to buy clothes, gift cards for food and other necessities. Deadbolt locks are also purchased to protect those victims who live alone.

Domestic violence calls have recently declined in Ohio, but fatality rates related to abuse have increased, according to the Ohio Domestic Violence Network Web site.

In Portage County, more victims report abuse during January, February and March than any other time of the year, Gordon said.

“The Superbowl and March Madness put men in a high testosterone state,” she said. “They tend to get more aggressive, and women tend to disappoint them more during this time.”

Nationally, more domestic violence calls are made during the Superbowl alone than any other day of the year, she said.

Contact public affairs reporter Erica Weisburn at [email protected].