PITTSBURGH, PA — When Bell Atlantic Mobile cut the ribbon today to dedicate its new Communications Store at 5th Avenue and Smithfield Street in downtown Pittsburgh, the company also took another step in supporting local victims of domestic violence, and employees reached out to help the "littlest victims."
At a ceremony this morning, Bell Atlantic Mobile presented more than 100 wireless phones to the Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. In addition, employees gave more than 1,500 diapers and toiletry items to the "littlest victims," infants and toddlers who, with their mothers, seek assistance at the Shelter.
"Today's celebration provides us with an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to assist residents in the communities we serve," said Roger Tang, regional vice president for Bell Atlantic Mobile in Pittsburgh. "Opening our store at 5th & Smithfield puts us in the heart of the downtown shopping district offering the busy office worker and shopper great conveniences and the latest in wireless technologies. As we grow in this region, we continue to give back to the community through our programs to support victims of domestic violence."
Martha A. Friday, executive director of the Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, expressed her gratitude to Bell Atlantic Mobile.
"We are extremely grateful for the ongoing generosity shown to the Women's Center & Shelter by Bell Atlantic Mobile and its employees," Friday said. "The phones will increase safety for victims of domestic violence, and the baby items will assist our efforts to help meet the basic needs of these children who have witnessed violence in their homes. By donating these items, in addition to the time and effort spent on reprogramming the phones, Bell Atlantic Mobile has demonstrated its dedication to our mission of ending domestic violence."
Last fall, Bell Atlantic Mobile donated 40 phones to each of the four domestic violence shelters in Allegheny County, and District Attorney Stephen Zappala provided funding for an additional 40 phones for each shelter. These preprogrammed 9-1-1 phones provide a lifeline for shelter residents as well as many non-resident clients. With a constant need for such protection, shelters found they could use even more equipment.
Working with Bell Atlantic Mobile, the Women's Center & Shelter undertook a Wireless Phone Recycling Drive to collect old, unused wireless phones. The company's technicians then tested, cleaned and programmed the phones to dial 9-1-1 at the touch of the button. More than 100 phones from the drive are being returned to the Shelter so they can be given to women at risk who may need to summon assistance should an emergency arise while they are away from the safety of the Shelter.
A "diaper drive" to collect items (diapers, baby wipes, shampoo, lotions, bottles, etc.) for the infants and toddlers at the Shelter was conducted by Bell Atlantic Mobile Pittsburgh employees. This is the third year the local employees have held such a campaign. Last year's gifts were given to victims at a Butler County shelter when the company opened a store in Cranberry Township. The Pittsburgh shelter was chosen to receive the gifts this year to mark the opening of the new downtown store.
Since its inception in 1995, Bell Atlantic Mobile's Wireless At Work community service program has donated thousands of wireless phones to aid communities throughout its market area. For the last three years, clients at the Women's Center & Shelter have also been using Bell Atlantic Mobile's HopeLine?, a free wireless voice mail service which provides the women with a link to potential employers, housing and additional social services.
"As a leader in the communications industry, we have the technologies available to assist these victims," Tang concluded. "Coupling our resources with the Shelter's programs enables us to address very critical needs in our community."
Tang invited local shoppers to visit the new store at 5th & Smithfield to take advantage of special offers during Customer Appreciation Month which runs through the end of March. The store is open Monday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The new store's phone number is 412-310-4600.
Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless network in the East covering 154,000 square miles, and the largest chain of retail outlets devoted exclusively to wireless voice, data and paging. Based in Bedminster, NJ, Bell Atlantic Mobile has 7.7 million customers and 8,800 employees from Maine to Georgia and, through a separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. Through its "Wireless at Work..." community service program, the company uses its technology to help individuals and communities improve security and emergency communications. Bell Atlantic Mobile's parent, Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE:BEL) is one of the world's largest wireless communications companies, with domestic operations in 25 states and international investments in Mexico, Europe and the Pacific Rim. For more information on Bell Atlantic Mobile visit: www.bam.com; on global operations visit: www.bellatlantic.com/worldwide.