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CPFS Has Another Solid Year Of Connecting Families

Marine Calling HomeNORWELL, Mass. (Feb. 2, 2016) – Cell Phones For Soldiers helped troops deployed in more than 25 countries stay in touch with their loved ones during 2015, continuing the successful mission started by two young siblings more than a decade ago.

Behind a strong donor base and corporate support, CPFS distributed over 76,000 international calling cards in 2015. That total equates to more than 4.6 million minutes of talk time.

Cell Phones For Soldiers’ veterans program, Helping Heroes Home, also had a solid year in 2015 aiding over 1,300 veterans with emergency aid.

Robbie and Brittany Berqguist founded Cell Phones For Soldiers in 2004 out of concern for service men and women paying for their own calls home from around the world while deployed. More than a decade later Cell Phones For Soldiers has provided more than 220 million “Minutes That Matter” to help members of the United States military stay in touch with family.

Helping Heroes Home was launched in 2012 to help provide one-time emergency grants to aid veterans making the transition back into civilian life. Grants cover a wide range of veterans’ emergency needs including car repairs, rent or mortgage payments, phone service, medical bills and many others.

“Cell Phones For Soldiers is proud to continue our mission to support active duty and veteran military members,” said Rob Berguist, who along with his sister Brittany founded the charity when they were 12 and 13-years-old respectively. “We are thankful for the incredible support we have had from generous donors and sponsors over the years to help make life better for this country’s service members.’”

Cell Phones For Soldiers shipped an average of 1,500 calling cards a week in 2015. More than 8,300 cards were sent to soldiers in Afghanistan, the most of any country. Service members in Iraq received the second highest number of calling cards, 2,300.

Forget roses, make Valentine’s donation to CPFS

There is a commercial I hear often these days on Sirius XM Satellite Radio that goes something like this: “Would you rather have a lot of stuff or learn a new language?”

I’m not interested in learning a new language, but it got me thinking about“stuff” and Valentine’s Day.

Most of us have way more “stuff” than we need. Most of us have tons of “stuff” wSAN DIEGO Operations Specialist 2nd Class Marcus Hooper, assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd, kisses his fiance as they are reunited during a homecoming ceremony.e don’t even use. And Valentine’s Day is about giving lots of “stuff.” Roses. Candy. Jewelry. Lavish dinners. Fun “stuff,” but just “stuff.” You eat the candy. The roses wilt. And on to the next holiday.

But here’s an idea. How about a gift … and please forgive the cliché … that keeps on giving?

While we’re enjoying candy, flowers and dinners with the people we love on Valentine’s Day, there are thousands of American’s deployed around the world to make sure we have the opportunity to enjoy all that “stuff.”

They won’t be anywhere near the folks they hold so dear on Valentine’s Day. They won’t be able to hold their hand across a candle-lit table. There will be no slow-dancing to romantic music. They will be lucky to tell them “I love you” from thousands of miles away.

Let’s trade some of our Valentine’s Day “stuff” to make sure these service men and women can connect with their loved ones on a regular basis.

Pass on the dozen roses this Valentine’s Day. Instead donate that money … a dozen Valentine’s roses are a minimum of $50 … to Cell Phones For Soldiers, whose Minutes That Matter program keeps service families connected through international calling cards. It’s pretty simple to do, too. Just click: buff.ly/1PHD6dw and you can make a donation to support troops. You can also donate to support veterans through our Helping Heroes Home program at the same site.

It is just as easy for a service member to request a calling card to help stay in touch with your loved one; just click here: buff.ly/1PD1OVS.

You think fifty bucks won’t make a big difference? Check these numbers out: every $5 donated to CPFS equals 2.5 hours of talk time. That $50 military monetary donation will truly keep on giving. And it sure beats wilted roses.

(This blog is courtesy of Mike Smith, veteran journalist and public relations professional. He lives in Bristol, TN, with his wife Aleeta.).

Liberty Tax Donating Preparation Fees To CPFS

Cell Phones For Soldiers has some exciting news!

For every federal and state tax return prepared and filed online through Liberty Online, 100% of the tax preparation fee will be donated back to Cell Phones ForLiberty Tax Service Online Soldiers.

Liberty Online is powered by the fastest growing retail tax preparation company in the industry, Liberty Tax Service. With over 17 years of tax experience, Liberty has prepared almost 18 million individual tax returns in more than 4,000 offices and online.

Go to www.libertytax.com/online to take advantage of this offer and prepare your taxes. By entering the coupon code “CPFS” at checkout, Liberty Tax will donate 100% of the tax preparation fees back to Cell Phones For Soldiers.

Cannot be combined with other offers or used toward past services. Other exclusions may apply. Void where prohibited by law. Valid 1/1-4/18/16

December Volunteer Spotlight—Ralph Poznecki, The Mirage Hotel Casino & Resort

Ralph Poznecki lives in Las Vegas and is Public Areas Manager for The Mirage Hotel Casino & Resort. He heads up the enterprise’s Cell Phones For Soldiers cell phone collection for many reasons, not least of which is because he remembers the days he served in the U.S. Air Force.

“I am proud and privileged to have been a pilot and held the rank of captain,” he says. “And I remember long lines in front of payphone booths on various air bases, airmen and officers waiting their turn, in all kinds of weather, hands filled with change to call home. With today’s technology, and the convenience of the cell phone, there’s no need for those long lines. However, it still costs to place those calls. This [Cell Phones For Soldiers’ Minutes That Matter] program can supply prepaid phone cards to help with those expenses. ”

Imagine the potential if every teen in today’s society felt so compelled to help others.

Mr. Poznecki became aware of Cell Phones For Soldiers five years ago when he was accepted for a seat on The Mirage’s Diversity Counsel.

“While serving,” he says, “each member committed to support or steward a program that ‘gave back’ in some form or way to those in need. Once involved, I learned how the [Cell Phones For Soldiers’ Minutes That Matter] program got started by a couple of teens just wanting to say thanks and help out our members of the armed forces. Imagine the potential if every teen in today’s society felt so compelled to help others. How could I every say no.”

“The MGM Resorts International Organization honors and awards many of our wounded warriors for their courage, sacrifice and bravery.”

Mr. Poznecki is pleased to represent his workplace in initiatives like Cell Phones For Soldiers because it means he and his organization can be of service:

Ralph Poznecki “The MGM Resorts International Organization has been supporting the men and women serving in our armed force in many programs and events. Most recent is our Salute to the Troops, where we honor and award many of our wounded warriors for their courage, sacrifice and bravery both in combat, and now, [while they’re] recovering from their injuries.”

“The wounded soldier shook my hand, thanking me for doing so much for them, but it was I who had to thank him, hug him. I think we both got teary eyed.”

He’s pleased to represent his workplace in initiatives like Cell Phones For Soldiers because it means getting personally involved, connecting with others, feeling gratitude:

“During last year’s Salute to the Troops,” he says, “I was introduced to a wounded soldier who had lost his leg. Our events coordinator had told him about the nonprofit (Cell Phones For Soldiers) and my involvement in it. He [the wounded soldier] shook my hand, thanking me for doing so much for them, but it was I who had to thank him for his sacrifice for us, couldn’t help it, but had to hug him. I think we both got teary eyed.”

“Visit your local VA Hospital, speak with some of our veterans, and honestly say the experience wouldn’t influence you to pursue this program with your whole heart.”

“If anyone is interested in starting their own collection point for the program,” says Mr. Poznecki, “they can contact cellphonesforsoldiers.com for information, forms and other resources. My advice to anyone wanting to get started in supporting this cause…visit your local VA Hospital, speak with some of our veterans, and honestly say the experience wouldn’t influence you to pursue this program with your whole heart. Hear for yourself what these men and women would have given a chance to spend a few minute talking with a loved one, or hearing a familiar voice from home. A few minutes of someone’s time and a little effort can make a difference on the day of the life of one of our members of the armed forces.”

Hip Kitty to Perform for Overseas Troops This Holiday

Hip Kitty is an American rock band who are loyal supporters to military members and Cell Phones For Soldiers. The band will head overseas this holiday to perform for and distribute calling cards to our troops, who aren’t able to celebrate the season with their families. Lead singer, Jen Goncalves shares what this trip means to Hip Kitty and the servicemen and women that they perform for.

Hip Kitty with troops and CPFS Calling Cards

Hello to our friends and supporters of Cell Phones For Soldiers! Hip Kitty is excited to be back for another Armed Forces Entertainment tour over the holidays! We would like to thank CPFS for their shipment of calling cards to the bases where we perform. It’s an awesome experience being able to provide our service members with a way to connect home…especially during a season when memories and time with family can be so precious. In our conversations with the moms and dads stationed abroad, the Cell Phones For Soldiers calling cards are a sweet reminder of support from those of us back home. These are men and women who proudly represent our country, but the holidays can be especially tough. A calling card means hearing the voice of their child on Christmas morning, for that so many are extremely grateful.

Hip Kitty plans to bring along some Christmas cheer, and ring in the New Year in full ROCK SHOW style! We’ll be sure to send pictures of our time abroad…We wish you all a blessed and fabulous holiday! Thank you for supporting our troops.

~ Jen

Jen with troops and their Cell Phone For Soldiers calling cards from their 2012 Armed Forces Entertainment tour.