Buffalo Bills linebacker Andra Davis met fans, gave away complimentary posters, signed autographs and made an unexpected contribution on October 6, 2010 at the Verizon Wireless kiosk in the Galleria Mall to support the Family Justice Center of Erie County in their fight against domestic violence in the Western New York community.
Through the Verizon Wireless HopeLine program, HopeLine Spokesperson Davis encouraged fans to donate their no-longer-used wireless phones to benefit domestic violence survivors at this Sunday's Bills game vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars. These phones will be refurbished and recycled or sold. Proceeds will be used to purchase wireless phones for domestic violence survivors to use in emergency or threatening situations, or to help find employment, locate housing or arrange for day care. HopeLine also makes financial grants to domestic violence organizations.
"We're here to support and raise awareness for domestic violence," said Davis. "This cause is something that's very near and dear to my heart. I have a wife and three beautiful daughters and if anyone were to ever put their hands on them I would be devastated. As a man, I look at domestic violence where I want to do as much as I can, and put it into perspective for other men. What if it was your sister, or your mother, or your daughter? It's such a serious problem and anything I can do to help I will."
The first 1,000 fans to donate a phone on Sunday will receive a complimentary poster featuring Davis. Kickoff is at 1:05 p.m. Gates open at 11:30 a.m.
This is the tenth year the Bills and Verizon Wireless have teamed up to fight domestic violence in our communities. The Family Justice Center of Erie County is also participating this year to help drive awareness of domestic violence as an important community issue. Verizon Wireless has collected more than 6,300 phones in the nine years they have done the collection. It is the most successful ongoing collection with a sports team in the history of the HopeLine program.
"For ten years, Buffalo Bills fans have helped make a difference by doing something as simple as donating a wireless phone that's no longer used," said Russ Preite, president of Verizon Wireless' Upstate New York Region. "HopeLine focuses on helping our communities prevent domestic violence, and we are pleased to have this opportunity to use wireless technology for this important purpose."
"The Family Justice Center has seen some 5,000 clients since we opened our doors in May 2006," said Mary Travers Murphy, Family Justice Center executive director. "Therefore, we know how prevalent the problem of domestic violence is locally and in society in general. The HopeLine program goes a long way in helping us reach our number one goal: keeping our clients and all domestic violence victims safe. The support of Verizon Wireless is vital to our ability to provide the life-changing services we do."
"Through the Bills collection, we can give domestic violence survivors a lifeline to help in an emergency and work to bring an end to this serious community issue," said Davis. "I encourage fans to bring an old phone to the game this Sunday, or anytime at any Verizon Wireless location, and help to potentially save lives."
At the autograph session, Verizon Wireless presented Murphy and the Family Justice Center with a check for $10,000 to aid the Family Justice Center of Erie County. Unexpectedly, Davis humbly told the Family Justice Center he would match the check and donate $10,000 on behalf of himself and his family. Murphy, quite moved by the random gesture of kindness, was extremely appreciative of the support from Verizon Wireless, Andra Davis and Bills fans.
For additional information, visit www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline.