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Ensemble Moncton needs cell phone donations

By Tara Clow Mar 17, 2023 | 8:45 AM

Ensemble Moncton is in need of used cell phones to keep its clients connected.

Executive Director Debby Warren says cell phones used to be a luxury, but nowadays they are a necessity, “Our hope is that people will understand the need for individuals who do not have access to telephones to have a mobile phone, particularly those who are on housed or precariously housed. We hope this program will help connect individuals to community services, help them to be able to communicate with service providers, even their family members and be connected to the community. It’s a challenge when people do not have support. It helps them not only make appointments but get to appointments to be able to receive the results of any tests that may take place. Without a phone, they become underserved, and their health care needs and other services don’t get met.”

Warren says the program was created a couple of years ago by UNB nursing students but donations have been slow coming in, and it has been difficult educating people about the needs and the value of the phones.

Ensemble Moncton provides the air time with a pay-as-you-go type card one month at a time. They have received donations from businesses that can provide that airtime.

“There’s no data that we’re providing, but they’re able to text and at least telephone. We just need the hardware, and a wellness navigator, who is a case manager, they do the intake and determine if someone needs a phone and it would be beneficial for them,” Warren adds.

The only criteria for the phones are that they have the capacity to allow the individual to make a call or even text, “We actually had an individual that we were able to provide them with a flip phone and they were in a very precarious position, not safe for them. It’s what got them into safety. So at the end of the day in an emergency, any phone is fine, As long as it’s not so ancient that it can’t connect them to services,” Warren says.

She says, there has been some pushback with the program because some have taken the attitude that those who are homeless or with addictions don’t need on.

“That has been our challenge. We really have to look beyond the substance. These are individuals living in poverty, not always unhoused but precariously housed, and they’re sick individuals, and we need to get them services including health care. We need to let them communicate. I can recall back in the day when we use the term welfare, and heaven forbid we would provide a land phone because that was a luxury. We soon realized that it was an important communication tool while we’ve moved forward,” Warren says.

Donations can be dropped off at Ensemble Moncton on Weldon Street, or contact them via their Facebook page to make arrangements for a drop-off.


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