|HAMPDEN More than 150,000 troops are serving overseas and are away from their families. Cell Phones for Soldiers and The Hampden Senior Center are calling on all Americans to support these brave men and women by donating your unused cell phones. Cell Phones for Soldiers hopes to collect over 50,000 cell phones to help keep troops connected with their families. |
"For the loved ones of soldiers serving abroad, Memorial Day is much more than a long holiday weekend," Brittany Bergquist, Cell Phones for Soldiers co-founder, said. "We're asking Americans to make a small sacrifice of support by donating their unused cell phones, providing families with a much-needed connection to their loved ones overseas."
Local residents can support the collection drive by donating their phones (with the attached battery and any accessories) at the Hampden Senior Center, 104 Allen St., Hampden, MA 01036. The Center is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
"We're proud to show our support for U.S. soldiers, and to contribute to a worthy cause like Cell Phones for Soldiers," Executive Director Becky Moriarty, said.
Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded by teenagers Robbie and Brittany Bergquist from Norwell, Mass., with $21 of their own money. Since then, the registered 501c3 non-profit organization has raised almost $1 million in donations and distributed more than 500,000 prepaid calling cards to soldiers serving overseas.
"We have been overwhelmed by the generous support of thousands of Americans who have helped our troops speak with their loved ones," Bob Bergquist, the teens' father, said. "However the need for support keeps growing as more soldiers are sent to the Middle East or are asked to serve extended tours of duty."
Through increased fundraising efforts, the Bergquist family hopes to raise more than $9 million in the next five years to fund new programs, such as providing video phones and prepaid service to allow soldiers abroad to see their families on a regular basis.
The phones are sent to ReCellular, which pays Cell Phones for Soldiers for each donated phone enough to provide one hour of talk time to soldiers abroad.
Approximately half of the phones ReCellular processes are reconditioned and resold to wholesale companies in over 40 countries around the world. Phones and components that cannot be refurbished are dismantled and recycled to reclaim materials, including:
Gold, silver and platinum from circuit boards
Copper wiring from phone chargers
Nickel, iron, cadmium and lead from battery packs
Plastic from phone cases and accessories
Cell Phones for Soldiers was created by Brittany and Robbie Bergquist of Norwell. After reading a story about a soldier who ran up a huge phone bill calling home from Iraq, these two teenagers decided to help out. They started by opening an account with $21.00 of their own money. They are collecting cash donations and old cell phones. The cell phones are recycled for cash and the proceeds are used to buy prepaid calling cards for our soldiers serving in the Middle East. Cell Phones For Soldiers is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Their efforts have motivated people and businesses around the country to donate to this worthy cause. Their goal is to provide every US soldier with a way to call home for free. For more information, please visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com.