We love stories like this. The needy are often those least able to navigate the waters of bureaucracy, so Goodwill Industries in Charleston, South Carolina is helping its people get free Lifeline cell phones.
“Business is not conducted in person the way it used to be,” said Jamie Cook, with Goodwill Industries in Charleston.
With more people out of work and needing assistance these days, cell phones are even less affordable for more people. That’s unfortunate, because cell phones have become a necessity, not a luxury.
Cook has taken it upon himself (herself?) to help dozens of Goodwill employees sign up for Link-Up and Lifeline services. As far as he’s concerned, they’re not just getting a free phone, they’re getting a way to stay connected with the rest of the world.
“It’s their only way to contact social services to get assistance, to make contact with potential employers, to be called for job interviews,” Cook said.
The good news is that Cook isn’t the only one who sees tremendous value in these programs.
“Both these programs, which are of enormous benefit or potential benefit to West Virginia customers, are underutilized in our state. They estimate that there’s a 20 to 50 percent participation rate,” said Susan Small, spokeswoman for the West Virginia State Public Service Commission.
Anyone who qualifies for Section 8 housing, whose children receive free school lunches or a number of other programs is eligible for the programs.
Our heartiest congratulations go out to Jamie Cook. We hope lots of other Goodwill offices around the country begin participating, too.