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Cell Phones for Soldiers Blog

Happy Father’s Day To Our Military Dads

June 12, 2018

We’ve all seen those reunion videos. The ones from school assemblies, games, or church celebrations, where the son or daughter of a serviceman doesn’t know that Dad is in the audience, or behind the umpire’s mask, or in the Santa suit.

The raw emotion in those precious moments stirs our hearts and brings tears to our eyes. We can almost feel what the military kid is feeling: Dad is home, Dad is safe.

There are more than 500,000 kids in America with a deployed parent. With men outnumbering women in active duty, that’s a lot of fathers who are spending time away from their families, missing big moments in their kids’ lives and waiting for those happy, heartwarming reunions—whether they’re caught on camera or not. Some of our troops even become fathers for the first time when they’re overseas, missing the births of their kids in order to protect our country.

And it’s a lot of fathers who won’t spend this Father’s Day weekend with their families.

It’s important—for our troops and for their families at home—to be able to check in during deployments. A phone call can catch them up with milestones big and small: a baby’s first steps, a great report card, a teen’s new driver’s license. Military spouses and kids can get reassurance that Dad is working hard and doing well, and they can talk about the realities and challenges of deployment that only these brave families truly understand.

At Cell Phones For Soldiers, our mission is to keep our military families in touch, with free calling cards they can use anywhere on the planet. We also help veterans through our Helping Heroes Home program, with one-time grants to help with everything from communication needs to emergency rent payment.

This Father’s Day, we ask that you support our mission, to help keep military families connected, and help veterans adjust to the challenges of civilian life.

You can help Cell Phones For Soldiers in two easy ways: by donating an old cell phone, smartphone or mobile device (used or new, working or not!), or by making a cash donation.

We are wishing a Happy Father’s Day to all our military and veteran fathers!

Cell Phones For Soldiers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

This Memorial Day, Pay Tribute to the Fallen

May 22, 2018

Since our country’s earliest days, brave men and women have given their lives to protect America’s safety and values. The ultimate sacrifice is so named because it is the greatest possible example of service over self.

On Memorial Day, we recognize and remember those people and their loss, and we offer comfort to the loved ones they have left behind. Although for many people, Memorial Day is a day off and the unofficial start of summer, for others, it is a solemn day of mourning and remembrance.

Here at Cell Phones For Soldiers, our mission is to help active-duty troops and veterans, and you can get involved with our cause by donating funds or recycling your old cell phones, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. If you’d like to get involved, you can learn more here.

But Memorial Day is not about the living. It’s not necessarily a day to say “thank you for your service” to men and women in uniform or veterans; in fact, it may be painful for some who survived combat while their close friends and members of their company or unit did not.

There are many ways to honor Memorial Day that respect our fallen men and women and their families, as well as pay tribute to their ultimate sacrifice on our beloved country’s behalf:

Attend Memorial Day services in your community. Cities, counties and states honor local and regional heroes who have given their lives in service with parades, White Cross ceremonies, moments of silence and days of community service.

Fly your American flag. On Memorial Day, flags are lowered to half-staff.

Visit a national cemetery or local memorial and reflect on the service of the fallen.

Learn the stories of your community’s heroes; often, public libraries and historical societies will contain records about local men and women who lost their lives in battle. Share stories about their heroism with your family to build a deeper understanding of your community’s contributions to American history.

Reach out. Your friends and family members who have served in the military may approach Memorial Day with mixed feelings, including sadness or anger. Let them know they have your support.

We hope everyone reading this has a peaceful and reflective Memorial Day.

A Salute To Military Moms

May 10, 2018

“Hi, Mom.”

Those two words can precede almost anything: a simple question, a heartfelt memory, a worry, a joke, a problem to solve, or just a simple check-in.

Moms are a universal go-to resource in so many circumstances, whether their kids are 5 or 50: a call to Mom can bring comfort just when their kids need it the most. That’s why, this Mother’s Day, we’re proud to celebrate our mission of keeping our military Moms connected with their children and spouses during deployments.

Through our Minutes That Matter program, Cell Phones For Soldiers has provided more than 300 million minutes of free talk time to our troops so those “Hi, Mom” calls can be placed from any corner of the earth.

The generous donations of old cell phones and mobile devices, as well as funds, have enabled moms in uniform to catch up with their children at home—bridging the distance until they can be reunited. These free minutes of calling time allow the spouses and partners of our troops to feel connected, and they help the proud mothers of military servicemen and women stay in touch during stressful times.

Whether you’re a mom in the military, raising kids with a service member, or you’ve raised a son or daughter to become one of our nation’s bravest, we salute you. “Military Mom” is a label that comes with strength, courage, sacrifice, and pride.

If you’d like to support military mothers with free communication, you can donate to Cell Phones For Soldiers by sending in your old cell phones and mobile devices, or by donating money. Donate today to give a “Hi, Mom” conversation to a family dedicated to serving our country.

Cell Phones For Soldiers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Become A Morale – Booster For Our Troops

April 30, 2017

Deployment, for a member of today’s military, often means a year or more away from the comforts of home, from parents, kids, spouses, partners and friends. In many cases, our service members are in dangerous war zones, where a simple call home isn’t as easy as pressing a button on a cell phone.

At Cell Phones For Soldiers, co-founders Rob and Brittany Bergquist decided back in 2004 that a basic need—to check in on loved ones back at home—should be available to our troops when they are hard at work for us. And they shouldn’t have to pay for it. Cell Phones For Soldiers takes the funds from donated cash and recycling your mobile devices, and buys calling cards to send to troops who are hard at work all over the globe. To date, we’ve sent more than 300 million minutes of talk time to servicemen and women.

Receiving such a useful donation from home can provide a needed morale boost to a man or woman who is deployed. It can be a reminder to them that we are grateful for their service. A Marine Corps major once told the New York Times: “If they know the American people are supportive, my troops will walk through fire for them.”

You can be part of that support network for our troops, by donating money or your unwanted cell phones, smartphones, tablets and MP3 players to Cell Phones For Soldiers. If you know of a member of the military who should receive a calling card, please visit this link to fill out their contact information

Eliminating Communication Headaches For Our Troops

April 22, 2017

Support HeroesCBS News in Boston recently ran a story about Air Force veteran Jeff Gordon, whose cell phone service provider billed him for service he didn’t use while serving our country abroad.

Jeff learned that Verizon had not received the paperwork he faxed to announce his deployment, and never realized that the suspension didn’t take place until his mortgage company noticed the missed payment on his credit report.

Since the story came to light, Verizon wiped out the bills Jeff and a fellow Air Force veteran were charged, and has now changed its policy to allow service members to suspend their accounts via email, instead of fax, during their deployment.

Even if our troops can’t use their own devices while deployed, we at Cell Phones For Soldiers want to make sure they maintain their important connections with family and loved ones while they’re serving. We take your unwanted cell phones, smartphones, tablets and MP3 players and recycle them for their valuable materials, turning that money into calling cards for our troops. We also accept cash donations.

Between our Minutes that Matter program, which has provided more than 300 million minutes of talk time to our troops, and our Helping Heroes Home program, through which we’ve provided more than 3,000 veterans with emergency grants, Cell Phones For Soldiers is committed to lifting some of the financial burden off our military members.

To donate to Cell Phones For Soldiers, visit our “Get Involved” page. Cell Phones For Soldiers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

This Earth Day, Recycle Your Devices Safely With Cell Phones For Soldiers

April 15, 2017

At Cell Phones For Soldiers, we are proud to recycle old cell phones and mobile devices responsibly. In doing so, we are able to extract the valuable materials contained in these devices, and turn them into money that we use to buy calling cards for the troops and to support our veterans and their families.

This work also has another incredible benefit: it keeps consumer electronics from being discarded in ways that can harm the environment.

Every year in the United States, people improperly discard 3 million tons of electronic waste, which contains PCBs, cadmium, mercury and lead, substances that are toxic and can even be carcinogenic! If mismanaged, those substances can leach into soil, endangering our precious ecosystem and potentially contaminating our food and water supply.

This Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, consider donating your unused cell phones, smartphones, tablets and MP3 players to Cell Phones For Soldiers. We’re committed to recycling your devices in a safe, environmentally friendly way, and as always, to supporting our troops, our veterans and their families.

Cell Phones For Soldiers Celebrates 13 Years

April 10, 2017

Brittany and Rob Bergquist were just 13 and 12 years old, respectively, when they learned about a soldier who had racked up $8,000 in charges to call home while he was deployed. They emptied their piggy banks and raised money with bake sales and car washes, wanting to help the soldier pay his bills.

That was on April 12, 2004.

After 13 years, Cell Phones For Soldiers has donated 300 million minutes of free talk time to our servicemen and women, giving them calling cards and helping them connect with their loved ones. After learning they could collect unwanted cell phones and mobile devices and recycle them for their valuable components, the Bergquists decided to use that money to purchase calling cards for the troops.

What followed was bigger than those kids could have imagined. Partnerships with major companies like AT&T and Liberty Tax helped expand Cell Phones For Soldiers, and our organization now has more than 4,000 collection sites.

In 2012, we started Helping Heroes Home, a program to provide emergency grants to veterans in need. We have helped more than 3,000 veterans with internet service, eviction prevention and other urgent issues.

Our work continues. We are grateful for the support of all our donors and partners. If you would like to get involved, find out how you can donate funds or an unwanted cell phone, smartphone or mobile device.

Why We Help Heroes Home

April 4, 2017

A soldier doesn’t stop being a soldier when he or she hangs up their uniform. They are still the same people who risked life and limb to serve their country, and we owe them our support as they transition into civilian life.

That’s why Cell Phones For Soldiers began its Helping Heroes Home program in 2012. We recognize that life after service can bring a number of challenges, whether they are physical, emotional or financial, and that’s why we extended our program to aid veterans.

Through their donations, our supporters have helped more than 3,100 veterans overcome communication challenges and physical, emotional and assimilation hardships with communication services, imperative car repairs, rent payment to avoid eviction, and more.

To request assistance for yourself or a veteran you know who needs help, please visit our Helping Heroes Home page and fill out the form. Requests are kept confidential, but we do need contact information and permission to confirm some information with the office of Veterans Affairs.

To donate to Cell Phones For Soldiers, either by contributing funds or recycling your old mobile device, visit our page on getting involved. Cell Phones For Soldiers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Plymouth 400 Recognizes Cell Phones For Soldiers Founders

April 3, 2017

Recently, Plymouth 400 recognized Cell Phones For Soldiers Co-Founders Rob and Brittany Bergquist with its “One Small Candle” award. Our partnership with the organization, which is preparing to honor Plymouth Colony’s 400th anniversary, continued beyond the award: Eight Plymouth businesses affiliated with the organization served as drop-off locations for Cell Phones For Soldiers!

The “One Small Candle” award is given each year at Plymouth 400’s Illuminate Thanksgiving event to an individual or group that has made a positive impact on their community, their country, or their world. The award is inspired by Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford’s famous quote, “As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many.” Plymouth 400 stated that Rob and Brittany, siblings who started Cell Phones For Soldiers at the ages of 12 and 13, have made “the lives of so many of our service men and women a little brighter with their work.”

As Plymouth 400 gets ready to celebrate four centuries of history in Plymouth, Massachusetts, they are introducing special Plymouth license plates for Massachusetts drivers. Low-number plates will be auctioned off, beginning April 19, and ending June 3, 2017. To bid on a plate, visit: www.myplymouthplate.org.

For more information about Plymouth 400, visit their website.

Keeping Watch Across the World

March 29, 2017

Support HeroesWe may not see daily updates on military action in the Middle East on the news anymore, but that doesn’t mean our troops aren’t still hard at work across the globe to keep us safe.

According to Visual Capitalist, there are more than 200,000 U.S. troops deployed overseas in 177 countries. Check out the cool infographics on their page to see just how widespread our military truly is.

Of course, deployment in some cases means that military servicemen and women are far from home, and missing events in the lives of their family and friends. That’s where Cell Phones For Soldiers comes in.

When you donate money or your old mobile devices to Cell Phones For Soldiers, you provide hours of free talk time to our troops. Just a $5 donation provides 2 1/2 hours of talk time, a respite from the stress of deployment and an opportunity to connect with the people they love.

For more information on donating cell phones, smartphones or tablets; or on making a cash donation, please visit our donation page. Cell Phones For Soldiers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.