Austin Cell Phone Giveaway Gets Residents Connected

Posted at: 11/28/2012 5:13 PM
Updated at: 11/28/2012 6:47 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 News) -- It's become our connection to the world. But when money is an issue, the cell phone is one thing many people have to do without, but today, many of them got connected.

"We are distributing free cell phones for income-eligible people," said Maryanne Law, director of the Parenting Resource Center in Austin.

Today, a cell phone is more than just a phone -- it can be a lifeline to the rest of the world.

"If you are job hunting and you don't have a number for a prospective employer to call you, it is a hardship," Law explained.

“If you are disabled and don't have the ability to make contact with someone, that is a real restriction."

But when dollars are in short supply, many people are forced to say “no” to a cell phone.

"The cost of phones are very significant," Law pointed out.

The phones are funded through the line items tax on the bottom of your phone bill, and this year the state of Minnesota decided to use those funds to help provide cell phones to those who otherwise might not be able to afford them.

And with new phones and the 250 minutes a month that go with them: "It makes a major impact on a very slim family budget," said Law.

More than 260 phones were distributed in two earlier giveaways.

The project was sponsored by the Parenting Resource Center and the Welcome Center in Austin.