Yesterday was Veteran’s Day in the United States. Being a U.S. Air Force veteran, as well as the daughter of a Navy veteran, and the granddaughter of and Army veteran, it was a special day for me personally. I saw a lot of status updates on Facebook, and a lot of tweets on Twitter, expressing gratitude to veterans, and to those who currently serve all over the world. It’s gratifying to see that kind of support and sentiment from so many people, regardless of whether they’re Democrat or Republican. While stating gratitude on Facebook and Twitter on Veteran’s Day is wonderful, some people may wish to more actively support the men and women who are sacrificing so much, not just on one day, but all year long. One way to do that is through Cell Phones for Soldiers. Cell Phones for Soldiers was started by 13-year-old Brittany Bergquist and her 12-year-old brother Robbie in April 2004. Brittany heard a news report about how military members have difficult calling home, either because they don’t have easy access to communications, or they simply can’t afford it. Deployed units usually provide phones that their members are able to use, but one phone for a unit that may be comprised of one hundred people or more isn’t very accommodating. Members must rely on public phones, and calling home with phone cards. But those costs add up. Many military members are more focused on making sure their families back home are taken care of than on spending money for a phone card. Families sometimes go for weeks or months without being able to actually talk to their deployed husband, wife, son, daughter, or parent, and that just makes being away much more difficult. Brittany and Robbie decided to help. Six years after hearing that news story, Cell Phones for Soldiers collects used cell phones, turns them in to recycling centers, and uses the profits to buy and distributed prepaid calling cards to military members deployed and stationed all over the world. The program now has more than 6,000 collection sites around the United States, many of which are hosted by local businesses, has collected more than $1 million, and has provided more than 75,000 phone cards to military members. One business that has become very involved in the Cell Phones for Soldiers effort is AT&T. As part of their own cell phone recycling program, the carrier also collects phones for Cell Phones for Soldiers. AT&T stores around the country serve as drop-off points for old cell phones. Use the form on their website to find one near you. The Cell Phones for Solider site also has a tool to help you find a place to donate your old cell phone. If you don’t have an old cell phone to donate, you can still support in a couple of other ways. Cell Phones for Soldiers also accepts cash donations to keep their program running, and they welcome new businesses, schools, and organizations that wish to become official collection points. Next time you upgrade or replace your cell phone, consider donating your old one to a good cause. At the very least, recycle your cell phone rather than just throwing it away.
Support Troops With Cell Phones
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