Region 8 residents get dialed-in

By Amanda Hanson - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- How would you like to get a free cell phone? Sunday, Linked Up America Lifeline, a government assisted program, helped to make that happen for several people in Region 8.

Who knew getting a free phone could be so easy. "I've never heard of just walking up and getting a cell phone. I didn't believe it," said Jonesboro resident Larena Jones. She says she's been without a phone, but after filling out the paper work she was dialed-in with a new cell. It's something she says will be a big help. "This helps a lot. I mean, a lot of people can't afford a cell phone, and I'm one of them. So I appreciate this so much," said Jones.

But how is this possible? "This a free program through the USFF program with is the Universal Service Fund Fee that's on every phone bill in America. So that little fee that you see, goes to support this program," said John Henry, who is the Operations Director with Linked Up America Lifeline. The program started in 1996 to provide landline phone service to help low-income families, but 20 months ago was converted to wireless service. The cell phones are either refurbished or recycled phones. Henry says each phone will allow the user 100 minutes and 100 text each month, which is enough to help in an emergency situation.

"I come across women every single week that are in their 20s and 30s that have two or three children and haven't been able to afford a phone. Then of coarse medical, elderly people that need to be able to communicate with their doctors," said Henry.

Representatives from the program have been out since Saturday, and expect to get out over 1,000 phones this weekend. Wendy Young showed off her new cell phone, and even spread the word to her friends and neighbors.

"I came to pick-up my friend to go to church, and I knew she needed a phone. So I told her, and we came right over here. I've been spreading the word to the people on our street. So everyone can have a phone like this," said Young.

If you missed out on getting cell phone this weekend, just go to or to find out if you qualify.

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