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December 11, 2007

Cell Phones for Soldiers Calls for Donations

By Calvin Azuri, TMCnet Contributing Editor

The non-profit group, 'Cell Phones for Soldiers,’  has sent out a request to all Americans to contribute unused cell phones to the cause of 150,000 troops serving overseas.
Cell Phones for Soldiers has set for itself, a goal of collecting more than 25,000 cell phones during the month of December. The phones will be distributed among soldiers who are away from their families so that they can stay connected.

"The holiday season is an especially lonesome time for soldiers abroad, and for their families at home," Brittany Bergquist, Cell Phones for Soldiers co-founder, was quoted as saying. "We're asking Americans to make a small sacrifice of support by donating their unused cell phones, to help provide soldiers with a much-needed connection to their loved ones for the holidays."

Cell Phones for Soldiers was established by teenagers - Robbie and Brittany Bergquist from Norwell, Mass. To start, they used $21 of their own money and registered Cell Phones for Soldiers as a 501c3 non-profit organization and raised nearly $1 million in donations. Till date, they have distributed over 500,000 prepaid calling cards to soldiers serving overseas.

American citizens’ can offer support by downloading a prepaid shipping label from cellphonesforsoldiers.com to dontate a cell phone or leave the phone at a local collection site. Also, collection sites can download a Cell Phones for Soldiers sign from cellphonesforsoldiers.com to use it as a display card for their business or organizations can initiate their own collection efforts.

After the phones are collected, Cell Phones for Soldiers will send them to Michigan-based ReCellular (News - Alert), which will pay up to $50 for each donated phone. The amount generated is sufficient for twenty-five hours of calling cards that can be sent to soldiers overseas.

Around half of the phones processed by ReCellular are reconditioned and later resold to wholesale companies in more than 40 countries across the world.

Through fundraising efforts, the founders of the organization are looking to raise more than $9 million in the next five years. The donations will be used to fund new programs, including offering video phones and prepaid service to enable soldiers to communicate with their families more regularly.

Calvin Azuri is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page .

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