SaskTel’s Phones for a Fresh Start spreads
holiday cheer and helps those in need
SaskTel’s Phones for a Fresh Start program helps those fleeing domestic violence and youth transitioning out of Ministry of Social Services Care (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images).
With the festive season fast-approaching new phones are a popular holiday wish list item, but old devices are often left to collect dust in a drawer or simply thrown in the garbage. SaskTel’s Phones for a Fresh Start (PFFS) program is a great way to give your old phone new purpose by supporting those who are less fortunate.
“If someone receives a phone or if they’re buying someone a phone for the holidays, they should consider donating their old device to help those who are leaving an abusive situation or aging out of Ministry of Social Services care,” said Jodine Smith, Corporate Communications Manager. “The Phones for a Fresh Start program ensures the brave people who use it have an easier time rebuilding their lives by not having to worry about the cost of how they will access basic communications services.”
“”When someone has recently escaped a relationship where they have experienced intimate partner violence, a phone is necessary not only for safety but for all the tasks associated with starting over, including securing housing, scheduling appointments, and seeking employment.”
– Crystal Giesbrecht—PATHS Director of Research and Communications
Throughout the year SaskTel collects and recycles old wireless devices, with all proceeds donated to PFFS—a community program designed to help those fleeing domestic abuse and youth transitioning out of Ministry of Social Services care. In partnership with the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services Saskatchewan (PATHS) and the Ministry of Social Services, PFFS is partially funded by the proceeds generated by recycling cell phones, batteries, and accessories. The remaining funds are contributed by SaskTel.
Phones for a Fresh Start collection bins, like the one pictured above, can be found at SaskTel stores and participating dealers.
“I frequently hear from staff at our member agencies how important Phones for a Fresh Start are to their clients,” said Crystal Giesbrecht, PATHS Director of Research and Communications. “When someone has recently escaped a relationship where they have experienced intimate partner violence, a phone is necessary not only for safety but for all the tasks associated with starting over, including securing housing, scheduling appointments, and seeking employment. A phone is also a lifeline for keeping in touch with family, friends, and other supports, especially during the holidays.”
According to Statistics Canada’s report on Spousal Violence in Canada, 2019, Saskatchewan had among the highest rates of spousal violence against women in all provinces; however, men and those who identify as gender diverse are not exempt from experiencing the same abuse
“The holiday season can be a difficult time for many survivors, especially if they and their children have had to leave their home and aren’t able to do the things they would usually do,” said Crystal.
Through PFFS to date, SaskTel has donated more than 5,200 phones and $123,400 in prepaid phone cards to over 20 PATHS member agencies across the province. Additionally, in 2020 the PFFS expanded to help youth transitioning out of permanent or long-term care from the Ministry of Social Services.
The PFFS also helps to keep our province green by diverting electronic waste away from our landfills. In fact, since 2009 over 133,000 cellphones have been recycled through the PFFS program. Donating your old phone to PFFS is easy, all you have to do is drop it off in one of the collection bins at Sask Tel Stores and participating dealers. Alternatively, you can also ship your phone to SaskTel free of charge through Canada Post using the Return ID Number PR713389. Visit canadapost.ca to print your return label.