Verizon Wireless recently presented Massachusetts resident Lillian O’Donnell with a HopeLine Hero Award to recognize her dedication to eradicating domestic abuse within the local community. The HopeLine Hero Award honors members of the community who have gone above and beyond to support domestic violence awareness and prevention.
Lillian, a parishioner of the Immaculate Conception Parish Church in Malden, says that the 2014 Lenten Season marks her 12th year collecting phones for the HopeLine from Verizon program within her parish. HopeLine from Verizon connects survivors of domestic violence to vital resources, funds organizations nationwide and recycles unusable phones to help protect the environment. While O’Donnell encourages phone donations at the parish year-round, she makes a dedicated push for contributions throughout Lent and her hard work has helped raise awareness of the issue of domestic violence.
“Twelve years ago, I had an idea about used cell phones,” said O’Donnell upon receiving the award. “After meeting with Father Mehm, who was supportive of this endeavor, I wrote an article for Immaculate Conception’s weekly bulletin asking parishioners to donate their used cell phones to help domestic violence victims through the HopeLine from Verizon program.”
“We began collecting phones during the 40 days of Lent, and with the support of the staff and parishioners we collected 2,000 phones in the first 10 years,” O’Donnell added. “Today, with 12 years of collections and 2,500 cell phones donated to HopeLine, we, as a parish, are making a difference in the lives of those who need our help. The support of my parish is invaluable as we continue to collect phones.”
O’Donnell is also grateful for the support of her pastor, Father Mehm, who praised her work within the community.
“There is a lot of silence around the issue of domestic violence,” said Father Mehm, “But the parishioners tell me how important and meaningful the work that Lillian does for [HopeLine] is to them.”
Since 2001, HopeLine has collected more than 10.8 million phones and provided more than $21.4 million in cash grants to domestic violence organizations nationwide. Used wireless phones may be donated to the HopeLine program at any Verizon Wireless retail store.