"Protection is the Name of the Game," is an extension of Verizon Wireless' award-winning HopeLine program, which is dedicated to helping stop domestic violence. The program includes a phone drive at Packers home games, financial donations to domestic violence organizations in Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula and a public service announcement featuring the Nelsons.
"It's a way to bring awareness to domestic violence," Nelson said. "It is out there. It could be someone close to you. You just don't know because it's one of those things that maybe they don't want to talk about. This allows someone to get a phone to someone who might not be able to afford one or have one, and if need be, they can call for help."
Verizon and the Packers will be collecting no-longer-used wireless phones, batteries and accessories at home games during the regular season. Fans can donate their old phones at one of three HopeLine collection boxes near the Verizon Wireless gate and at guest services in the Lambeau Field Atrium. Most of the phones will be refurbished or sold, with the proceeds used to purchase newer wireless phones for domestic violence survivors and to support area domestic violence shelters and organizations. Phones that can't be refurbished will be recycled in an environmentally sound way.
For each phone collected, Verizon will donate $10 to a local domestic violence shelter.
In 2010, Packers fans donated 767 no-longer-used wireless phones for a total donation of $7,670 to seven Wisconsin and Upper Peninsula domestic violence agencies and shelters.
Since the program was launched in 2001, HopeLine has collected more than 8 million wireless phones, awarded more than $10 million in cash grants to domestic violence organizations throughout the country and, by the end of this year, will have donated more than 106,000 HopeLine phones with 319 million minutes of airtime to victims, survivors and domestic violence organizations.
Fans unable to attend a game this season can donate their no-longer-used phones at any Verizon Wireless Communications Store.
"Playing football for the Packers, your voice can bring a lot of attention to things just by us being out there," Nelson said. "Any of us would have done it. Having your face out there, people pay attention to it. It's great to be a part of it. Obviously, it'd be nice if we didn't have to do it, but we know it's out there so we'll try to help as much as possible."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.