With Earth and Memorial days approaching, the York County Commissioners are encouraging residents to donate their old cell phones to Cell Phone For Soldiers. Donations benefit our country’s troops and decrease electronic waste in landfills.
Cell Phones For Soldiers was founded in 2004 by Rob and Brittany Bergquist of Norwell, Mass. who, at the ages of 12 and 13, were looking to show their family’s appreciation to the men and women who sacrifice day-to-day contact with their own families to serve in the United States Armed Forces, according to Cell Phones For Soldiers. The money received from recycling the cell phones is used to purchase calling cards and other communication tools for the U.S. military.
Since the program’s inception, Cell Phones For Soldiers has collected more than 10 million cell phones, with more than 150 million minutes of free talk time provided to soldiers, according to Cell Phones For Soldiers.
York County in 2009 began collecting cell phones for the program as part of a partnership between Information Services, Veterans Affairs and the Commissioners. Since then, 1,394 phones have been collected equaling 83,640 minutes of free talk time for servicemen and servicewomen abroad. In the first quarter of 2012, 118 mobile phones were donated, equaling 7,080 free minutes of talk time for soldiers overseas.
“With many people upgrading to smartphones, old cell phones are collecting dust,” said County Commissioner Doug Hoke. “By donating them to our heroes overseas, we are showing the men and woman of the United States Armed Forces our support and keeping these unused cell phones out of landfills.”
Old cell phones can be donated at the Department of Veteran Affairs at 100 W. Market St. in York City. Residents are reminded to clear off all sensitive data and remove the SIM card before donating their unwanted phone. Instructions for wiping the phones of data are available by clicking on the “Donate a Gently Used Phone” link on the Cell Phones For Soldiers website, www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com. Additional local collection sites are also available via the Cell Phones For Soldiers website.
“Overseas service often can leave members of our Armed Forces feeling disconnected from their families and friends back home,” said Philip Palandro, director of Veteran Affairs. “The simple act of donating an unused cell phone can help bridge that gap and make tours of duty much more comfortable for our service members.”