Cell Phones for Soldiers (CPFS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides cost-free communication services to active-duty military members and veterans. The organization was founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, then 12 and 13 years old, with only $21. CPFS relies on generous donors for cash contributions and funds raised by the recycling of used cell phones.

Cell Phones for Soldiers Fast Facts
  • Since 2004, Cell Phones for Soldiers has provided troops with more than 204 million minutes of free talk time and distributed more than 2.9 million international calling cards.
  • Since 2004, more than 11 million cell phones have been recycled, reducing the impact on landfills.
  • Thus far in 2013, Cell Phones for Soldiers distributed more than 23 million minutes of free talk time and more than 380,000 calling cards.
  • A $5 donation warrants 2.5 hours of talk time; a $100.00 donation gives 50 hours or 3,000 minutes of talk time.
  • There are more than 3,100 public collection points across the nation.
  • In 2012, Cell Phones for Soldiers launched its newest program, Helping Heroes Home. Helping Heroes Home provides emergency funds for returning veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and assimilation hardships.
  • Since July 2012, Helping Heroes Home has assisted more than 400 veterans and their families with emergency funding.
Military Member Benefit
(Statistical information provided by the Center for American Progress)
  • Due to extreme work conditions and lack of family interaction, 42 percent of military personnel have reported feeling like a "guest" in their home following deployment.
  • Divorce rates nearly doubled for military members from 2001 to 2004 and have risen steadily ever since. CPFS works to keep families close by helping them communicate regularly during deployment.
  • One in five returning troops from Iraq and Afghanistan show signs and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), stemming from extreme work conditions and lack of emotional support.
  • Thirty percent of deployed troops suffer from PTSD, depression or anxiety.
  • Studies by the United States Army reveal a direct correlation between PTSD and family problems.
  • The Military Benefits Deployment Center lists staying in touch with loved ones as a top-five "how to survive deployment" strategy.
  • Currently in the United States, one in four homeless persons is a veteran.
Helping Heroes Home Fast Facts
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.

Cell Phones for Soldiers founders, Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, recently introduced this program to aid veterans returning from recent deployment.

Helping Heroes Home will assist with:
  • Communication needs:
    - Home phone service
    - Cell phone service
    - Cell phone purchase
    - Internet service
  • Prescribed medication
  • Vehicle repair
  • Home bill payment (water, electricity, rent/mortgage)
Helping Heroes Home will serve:
  • Veteran who have served in active duty or been honorably discharged since 2001.
  • Emergency funding may be granted for one of the following reasons:
    - Family needs due to deployment
    - Military related illness or injury
    - Natural disaster
    - Family emergency affecting the day-to-day livelihood of the veteran
Reaching Veterans:
Helping Heroes Home has partnered with numerous organizations to provide this service to veterans and also assist in identifying those most in need. Partners include:
  • Regional Veterans Administrations
  • Veterans Hospitals
  • Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2)
Applications also may be submitted online at www.helpingheroeshome.org.

The Need (Statistical information provided by the Center for American Progress)
  • Currently in the United States, one in seven homeless persons is a veteran.
  • One and a half million veterans are at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.
  • Thirty percent of veterans ages 18 to 24 were unemployed according to the unpublished 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
  • More than 968,000 of veterans ages 18 to 64 had been in poverty in the past year.
  • More than one million veterans used mental health services in 2010.
Environmental Benefit
  • Each year more than 130 million cell phones are decommissioned.
  • Cell phones contain hazardous chemicals and heavy metals which pollute the earth if placed in landfills.
  • Donated devices are sent to Mindful eCycling.

BIOS

BRITTANY BERGQUIST
Birthday: Nov. 28, 1990
Education: 2013 graduate of Stonehill College, North Easton, Mass. with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing and a minor in Economic.
Hometown: Norwell, Mass.
Volunteer: Co-Founder & Director, Cell Phones for Soldiers
Interests: Volunteering, swimming, baking, arts and crafts, sailing, bowling, physical fitness

As a small child, Brittany Bergquist was not your average kid. A child of two public educators, Bergquist's philanthropic initiatives began early. Her first act of giving consisted of 10 inches of her hair for Locks of Love. By age 13, Bergquist's ambition and generosity began to shape her life. In 2004, together with her brother, Robbie, Bergquist co-founded Cell Phones for Soldiers, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization with a mission to provide cost-free communication services to active military members and veterans. To date, the Bergquists' efforts have provided troops with more than 204 million minutes of FREE talk time through their calling card program, Minutes That Matter and prevented more than 11 million cell phones from ending up in landfills.

In 2012, the Bergquists' launched, Helping Heroes Home, an initiative of Cell Phones for Soldiers that provides emergency funds for returning veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and assimilation hardships.

Now, age 23 and a recent graduate of Stonehill College, Bergquist spends her free time improving the quality of life for thousands of servicemen and women. As co-founder and director of Cell Phones for Soldiers, Bergquist travels both nationally and internationally for media appearances, speaking engagements and more. While in college, she acted as a civic ambassador for Stonehill. She also interned at Target, the Boston Bruins and General Motors where she worked on the GM Military Discount program. Bergquist currently works in marketing for an international toy company.

Bergquist is the recipient of the 2011 Jefferson Award for public service and the 2011 SELF Magazine Women Doing Good Award. In 2010, she received the Amway Positivity Award. Her 2009 community service honors include Mass. Conference for Women Be the Change Award, L'Oreal Paris Woman of Worth Award, Sally Hansen/Glamour Magazine Best of You Award, AT&T Scholarship, Build-A-Bear Huggable Hero Award, D.A.R. National Youth Award, D.A.R. Northeast Region Youth Award, Best Buy @ 15 Scholarship, Prudential Spirit of Community Award, VFW Voice of Democracy, Abigail and John Adams Scholar, Prudential Spirit of Community Award, Comcast Leaders and Achievers Award, AXA Achievement Award, VFW Voice of Democracy.

ROBERT (ROBBIE) BERGQUIST
Birthday: Jan. 2, 1992
Education: Senior, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Boston, Mass.
Major: Sports Management
Hometown: Norwell, Mass.
Volunteer: Co-Founder & Director, Cell Phones for Soldiers
Interests: Soccer, golf, sailing, track, baseball, basketball, hockey, travel
At the early age of 12, Robbie Bergquist's community generosity began to take shape when he partnered with his sister, Brittany, to co-found Cell Phones for Soldiers in 2004. The mission of Cell Phones for Soldiers is to provide cost-free communication services to active military members and veterans. To date, the Bergquists' efforts have provided troops with more than 204 million minutes of FREE talk time through their calling card program, Minutes That Matter and prevented more than 11 million cell phones from ending up in landfills.

In 2012, the Bergquists' launched, Helping Heroes Home, an initiative of Cell Phones for Soldiers that provides emergency funds for returning veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and assimilation hardships.

Bergquist, now 22, is a senior at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He is an avid soccer player and currently plays mid-field for the University of Massachusetts club soccer team. When not on the field, Bergquist aids in the growth and promotion of Cell Phones for Soldiers. As co-founder and director of Cell Phones for Soldiers, Bergquist travels both nationally and internationally for media appearances, speaking engagements and more. He is a regular at the local post office and an expert in overseas military shipments. In addition to running a nonprofit, Bergquist spent last summer interning with General Motors and studied abroad for the 2013 spring semester at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

Bergquist is the recipient of community service honors to include: Jefferson Award for public service, D.A.R. Community Northeast Service Award, D.A.R. Youth Leader Award, Build-a-Bear Huggable Hero Award, Kohl's Kids Who Care, AT&T National Scholarship Award, Microsoft/USO Youth Leader Award, Next Step "Super Teen", National Conference on Citizenship Award, Angel Soft Angel's In Action Award and Banking on Youth.
ROBERT "BOB" BERGQUIST
Birthday: June 25, 1947
Resides: Norwell, Mass.
Hometown: Hingham, Mass.
Spouse: Gail
Children: Courtney, Brittany and Robbie
Volunteer: President, Cell Phones for Soldiers
Occupation: Retired Middle School Science Teacher-Norwell Middle School
After spending his days enriching the minds of middle-school children, Bob Bergquist, 65, serves as president for one of the most impactful military-based foundations in the country. Cell Phones for Soldiers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to provide cost-free communication services to active military members and veterans, was founded by his children in 2004. Bergquist attributes the success of the charity to his family's commitment and never-ending passion to help military families.

In 2004, he helped his children Robbie and Brittany, then 12 and 13, found Cell Phones for Soldiers. To date, the Bergquists' efforts have provided more than 204 million minutes of FREE talk time through their calling card program, Minutes That Matter and prevented more than 11 million cell phones from ending up in landfills.

In 2012, the family launched, Helping Heroes Home, an initiative of Cell Phones for Soldiers that provides emergency funds for returning veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and assimilation hardships.

A life-long Massachusetts resident, Bergquist grew up in Hingham, Mass., and earned both his Bachelor's of Science in elementary education and his master's degree in education from Bridgewater State College. He and his wife, Gail, have lived in Norwell, Mass., since 1987.

As president of Cell Phones for Soldiers, Bergquist manages the accounting and decision making for the organization. He spends an average of 30 hours per week on conference calls, balancing donations and recording the balance sheet of the organization.

In his free time, Bergquist enjoys traveling, sailing, painting murals and watercolors, home improvement projects and spending time with family and friends. Now retired from teaching, Bergquist looks forward to dedicating more time to the efforts of Cell Phones for Soldiers and hopes to volunteer in classrooms and tutor those in need.

GAIL BERGQUIST
Birthday: June 27, 1956
Resides: Norwell, Mass.
Hometown: Weymouth, Mass.
Spouse: Robert
Children: Courtney, Brittany and Robbie
Volunteer: Clerk, Cell Phones for Soldiers
Occupation
: Retired Special Education Teacher-Weymouth High School
Gail Bergquist manages one of the country’s growing military-based foundations as the clerk for Cell Phones for Soldiers®. Cell Phones for Soldiers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which provides cost-free communication services to active-duty military members and veterans. As the clerk for the charity, Bergquist handles communication and decision making needs.

In 2004, Bergquist helped her children, Robbie and Brittany, then 12 and 13, found Cell Phones for Soldiers. To date, the Bergquists' efforts have provided more than 204 million minutes of FREE talk time through their calling card program, Minutes That Matter and prevented more than 11 million cell phones from ending up in landfills.

In 2012, the family launched, Helping Heroes Home, an initiative of Cell Phones for Soldiers that provides emergency funds for returning veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and assimilation hardships.

A life-long Massachusetts resident, Bergquist grew up in Weymouth, Mass., and attended Bridgewater State College where she earned her Bachelor of Science in special education. She went on to earn her master's degree in general education from Cambridge College and has raised her family in Norwell for the past 27 years. Bergquist retired from teaching in June 2013, after spending 35 years at Weymouth High School as a special education teacher.

In her free time, Bergquist enjoys traveling, reading, home decorating, cooking and spending time with family and friends. In her retirement, Bergquist looks forward to dedicating more time to the efforts of Cell Phones for Soldiers and hopes to volunteer in classrooms and tutor those in need.

155th BCT, 2/198th HHC with their phone cards
 

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