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CELL PHONES FOR SOLDIERS Media

Help Our Troops And Veterans, Help Our Planet

Personal technology evolves at a breakneck speed these days: think of how frequently Apple, Samsung, Google and other tech giants debut their latest smartphones and other gadgets. Now think about the devices those new gadgets make obsolete. Are we, as a society, putting that older tech to good use?

At Cell Phones For Soldiers, we recognize both the value of the recyclable materials of cell phones, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices—as well as the environmental harm of improperly disposing of these gadgets. On Earth Day, and throughout the year, we remind you that donating your unwanted devices to Cell Phones For Soldiers helps our troops and veterans, and keeps these devices from harming our environment.

The world is suffering a “tsunami of e-waste,” warned environmentalist Achim Steiner in 2015. Mr. Steiner, who then headed up the United Nations’ Environment Program, noted that disposed devices can release harmful, toxic chemicals into the environment, while at the same time discarding very valuable components that can be reused again and again.

“We are throwing away an enormous amount of raw materials that are essentially reusable,” said Mr. Steiner. “Whether it is gold, silver or some of the rare earths that you have heard about perhaps in recent years, it is still an incredible amount.”

Unfortunately, only about 12.5 percent of global e-waste is recycled, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. We can do much better.

In 2004, Cell Phones For Soldiers saw a win-win opportunity: We could recycle donated mobile devices for their valuable reusable materials, and use the income from those materials to purchase calling cards for our deployed troops. Since then, we have provided well over 300 million minutes of free talk time to help our brave men and women in the military stay connected with loved ones at home, and have helped more than 3,100 veterans in need.

We have also kept more than 15 MILLION potentially harmful electronic devices from hitting our overtaxed landfills.

We’re so proud of that number, and are constantly working to push back against that tsunami of e-waste. This Earth Day, donate your unwanted cell phones, smartphones, tablets and mobile devices to Cell Phones For Soldiers. It doesn’t matter whether the device is working or not, broken, brand new or decades old. Make a difference in the lives of our troops and veterans, and in the life of our planet.

Cell Phones For Soldiers Celebrates 15 Years

Cell Phones For Soldiers reaches a milestone on April 12, 2019, as we celebrate our 15th anniversary! A lot has happened since the morning in 2004 when co-founders Brittany and Rob Bergquist, then 13 and 12 years old, piled their spare change and allowance savings to help an American soldier in Iraq who’d run up an $8,000 cell phone bill calling home.

Their first effort—raising $21 to help the soldier—quickly turned into Cell Phones For Soldiers. The siblings soon created a plan to turn donated cell phones and mobile devices into free talk time for our brave men and women in uniform around the world.

While completing middle school and earning their high school and college degrees, Rob and Brittany grew the nonprofit into a sophisticated, international operation. The organization, which uses the income from donated mobile electronic devices to buy calling cards for the troops, has collected more than 15 million devices. This has allowed us to provide well over 300 million minutes of free calling time to deployed troops through our Minutes That Matter program. With support from corporate partners such as AT&T, CapitalOne, Liberty Tax, Chevrolet, Santa Rita Wines, KIND and many more, as well as countless individual contributors, Cell Phones For Soldiers has provided communication services to our military, helping families stay connected.

In 2012, Cell Phones For Soldiers expanded its services to a new program, Helping Heroes Home. We use income from recycling and cash donations to help veterans needing help with the transition to civilian life. We have assisted more than 3,000 veterans with one-time grants to avoid eviction and foreclosure, as well as meet communication and household needs.

In the past 15 years, Cell Phones For Soldiers has been featured in local, national and international media. This week, as we #CELLebrate15, we’ll share some of our best memories and we encourage you to please help us ring in our anniversary by donating $15. Your donations will help us continue our mission to help America’s bravest.

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