With cellular plans changing and upgrades coming, thousands are getting new cell phones every day. In fact, statistics show that over 130 million cell phones are decommissioned each year. When we come home with our shiny new phones, we tend to put our old phones in a drawer and simply forget about them. Instead, why not donate your phone to a member of our armed forces?
Cell Phones for Soldiers is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides free communication tools to deployed and returning military members. Since starting the organization was founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, then just 12 and 13 years old, Cell Phones for Soldiers has provided more than 150 million minutes of free talk time to members of our military. In 2011, Cell Phones for Soldiers shared 690,000 communication tools with military families and provided more than 41 million minutes of talk time.
Not only is this initiative helpful for the soldiers themselves but for the families at home hoping to hear from their deployed loved one. Think about the wives who can hear that their husbands are safe, mothers who can speak to their daughters overseas and children who can hear from their parents. You can help make that happen simply by not putting your old cell phone in that drawer.
There are approximately 15,000 collection points across the nation. For more information or to find a collection point near you, go to www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com or www.facebook.com/JoinCellPhonesforSoldiers. If you would like to help but do not have a cell phone to donate, consider that a $5 donation equates to 2.5 hours of talk time for a military family.
Cell Phones for Soldiers hopes to keep families connected by helping them communicate with their loved ones during deployment. Studies show that one in five returning troops from Iraq and Afghanistan have signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from the extreme work conditions and feeling a lack of emotional support.
Amazingly, Robbie and Brittany Bergquist are not stopping their work at cell phones. The inspiring brother-sister duo recently introduced a program called Helping Heroes Home, an initiative of Cell Phones for Soldiers. The program’s mission is to provide emergency funds for returning veterans to help with communication challenges as well as those involved with assimilating into life after deployment. Sadly, 30% of veterans ages 18-24 were unemployed (according to unpublished 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics data) and over 968,000 veterans ages 18-64 had been in poverty in the past year. For more information, please visit www.helpingheroeshome.org or www.facebook.com/JoinCellPhonesforSoldiers.
Do you have a cell phone in a drawer somewhere that could help our soldiers and veterans stay in touch with loved ones?