Today in the mail I got a notice about ‘The Free Cell Phone & Minutes Program’. I didn’t know such a program existed. If you qualify you can get a free cell phone and 250 free minutes. You may be eligible if you get food stamps, have Medicaid, are Section 8, receive energy assistance, TANF, SSI or free school lunch. I don’t participate in any of those assistance programs, maybe I should pass this on to the homeless guy in front of my building. Oh wait, he already has a cell phone.

At first I didn’t know what to think, I was rather ambivalent. Is a cell phone a necessity? It didn’t use to be, but now it seems like it is. The testimonial included, because there is always a testimonial included is from a elderly woman, disabled and living alone. Since the phone is a cell phone, she can keep it with her and call whenever and wherever she needs help. There are programs to give phones to cab drivers and battered women, so why not the poor and disabled? A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization. ~Samuel Johnson. They are not handing out smart phones with unlimited data plans, if you want one you are required to submit proof that you are receiving assistance or your income is below the levels stated and only one phone per household is allowed. I know there are ways around these qualifications, people get arrested for welfare fraud all the time.

Overall, I think its a good idea for people who need assistance to able to contact help. When I was at the hospital they had this program with pendants for people to push if they needed help. The problem was, they only were effective when the person with the pendant was at home. Just because a person is disabled doesn’t mean they are bed-ridden or house bound. Giving cell phones out is an idea whose time has come.

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