Cell Phones for Soldiers
At the ages of 12 and 13, Robbie and Brittany Bergquist were watching the morning news and heard the story of a soldier returning from Iraq with an almost $8,000 cell phone bill. Their cousin had recently been deployed, so the story really hit home. Then Robbie and Brittany decided to act, as they cleaned out their piggy banks, gathered lunch money and held a car wash in an effort to help this one man. When they decided that helping one man wasn’t enough, Cell Phones for Soldiers was born in 2004.
With more than 290,000 troops serving overseas, the price of calling home is costly for servicemen and women. Cell Phones for Soldiers provides cost-free communication services to active-duty military members and veterans. It’s a dedicated effort to minimize the financial burden of staying connected to those they love the most.
In order to provide this service, the charity collects and recycles gently-used cell phones and uses the proceeds to purchase prepaid international calling cards for troops stationed around the world. Along with recycling cell phones, monetary donations are also accepted. For each five dollar contribution or donated device valued at five dollars, Cell Phones for Soldiers can provide troops with two and a half hours of free talk time.
In 2012, Cell Phones for Soldiers shared more than 515,000 communication tools with military families, providing 31 million minutes of talk time and collected and recycled more than 815,000 phones. Since 2004, Cell Phones for Soldiers has provided troops with 181 million minutes of free talk time and recycled more than 10.8 million cell phones.
In July of 2012, Cell Phones for Soldiers expanded the charity’s services to assist veterans. Helping Heroes Home, an initiative of Cell Phones for Soldiers, provides emergency funds for returning veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and assimilation hardships. The program provides a returning serviceman or woman with the tools to immediately reconnect and assimilate back into post-war society.
Businesses with a desire to partner with Cell Phones for Soldiers can assist the charity in several ways.
1. Become a drop-off location.
Local businesses can sign up on www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com to be a drop-off location for gently-used cell phones. When signing up to be a drop-off location, a host of resources are available to help publicize the program. The resources include: flyers, posters, press release template, logos, collection box art, web banners, etc. Once the drive is completed, Cell Phones for Soldiers can report on the amount of cell phones donated as well as the amount of minutes that will be provided to troops in need.
2. Organize a private collection at your place of work, church or community venues.
Private cell phone drives are of great benefit to the charity. Simply sign up on www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com to organize a private collection of gently-used cell phones. Once the drive is completed, Cell Phones for Soldiers can report on the amount of cell phones donated as well as the amount of minutes that will be provided to troops in need.
3. Contribute monetary donations.
4. Include Cell Phones for Soldiers in a special event.
Also, businesses can partner with Cell Phones for Soldiers for one-time special events, including Military Appreciation Day, July 4th events, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, etc.
5. Help spread the message about Cell Phones for Soldiers via social media, a website and more.
Cell Phones for Soldiers truly appreciates the support received from family businesses. If there is interest in partnering with the charity in another way, Cell Phones for Soldiers is happy to discuss additional options.
Return from Cell Phones for Soldiers to