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Albany County appeals for used cell phone donations

Albany County officials are asking for old cell phones to provide emergency 911 coverage for the elderly, as it is running low on their stockpile.

The program began in May on 2008 and provides free, used cell phones that have been deactivated for normal service. Even though service has been cancelled, the phones can still call 911, and provide emergency service for seniors. Due to the programs success, Albany County Sheriff James Campbell said, the county is making an appeal for more phones.

Campbell said the program has been a big success, but noted that it is vital that people donating the phones also donate the chargers as well.

\When they realize all they have to do is punch 911, it makes it easier for them, he said. "We're trying to keep up with the demand."

The sheriff's office collect the phones. They are checked to make sure the 911 function is still operational and then the Albany County Department of the Aging issues the phones to those who have requested them.

"Since its inception, this program has been highly successful. Hundreds of phones have been donated and distributed to seniors throughout Albany County. Due to this fact, our supply of phones is running low so we are asking the public for their help in donating their phones," Campbell said in a statement.

"The department of the aging has issues hundreds and hundreds of phones," he said.

Campbell said that even though seniors from other areas have made request, only Albany County residents are eligible, as there are a limited number of phones.

Alicia Roney, aging service assistant in the county, said the program allows residents to keep the phones in the community, and help neighbors in need.

The program has no sign of being discontinued, and she said as long as there are elderly residents expressing an interest in having the phones, the county will continue to collect them.

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