INDIANAPOLIS — On game day in Indianapolis, before the Colts took the field against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium, fans filled the parking lot for their annual pregame tailgate. But one tailgate at the Crane Bay Event Center was more than that.
Hundreds of fans turned out to support a movement that helps save lives.
"This is the only fundraiser we do for the year," Courtney Kibble with the More Than a Phone campaign said.
The group provides free smartphones for domestic violence survivors — a lifeline to keep them connected.
"They can use them to reconnect with family. They can use them to call their children's schools (or) their jobs," Kibble said.
Proceeds from the food the drinks and the auction at the annual tailgate go benefit the nationwide program.
One survivor, Beverly Gooden, shared her story at the tailgate.
"What did I do to make him hit me?" Gooden shared. "I realized that I could die, and so I decided that I wanted to live more than I wanted to be married to him."
On a typical day, 20,000 men women and children call domestic violence hotlines nationwide. Each year, more than 10 million Americans become victims. Advocates say events like this are critical and Sunday's turnout was telling.
"This is our fourth year, and I think the first year we had about 50 people," Kibble said. "This year we have over 350, so maybe this means more people are starting to talk about it and realizing there is a need."