Monday, November 18, 2013
Patriots Point and nonprofit Cell Phones for Soldiers are asking visitors to help troops call home by donating gently-used cellular phones. Although the military landscape is ever changing, as many as 290,000 troops are serving in the U.S. military overseas around the world. By donating to Cell Phones for Soldiers, Patriots Point visitors can provide troops with that precious connection to loved ones back home.
Visitors can donate their phones at the parking lot entrance at Patriots Point in exchange for free parking.
“We all know communication is key in maintaining good relationships. So if we can help bring soldiers closer in contact with their families, we’re all for it,” Patriots Point Executive Director Mac Burdette said of the partnership.
Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded in 2004 by teenagers Robbie and Brittany Bergquist at the ages of 12 and 13. The charity has since provided 181 million minutes of free talk time to servicemen and women stationed around the world. Funds raised from the recycling of cellular phones are used to purchase prepaid international calling cards. On average, Cell Phones for Soldiers distributes 12,000 calling cards each week to bases around the world, care package programs, deployment ceremonies and VA hospitals.
“Each year we have been humbled by the amount of people and organizations like Patriots Point that take the initiative to support our troops,” said co-founder Brittany Bergquist. “The communication gap between those serving and their families is a crucial need that Cell Phones for Soldiers is committed to addressing for years to come.”
Donated phones are sent to Mindful eCycling for recycling. For every donated phone valued at $5, Cell Phones for Soldiers is able to provide two and a half hours of free talk time to deployed troops.
Approximately half of the phones Mindful eCycling processes are reconditioned and reused. Phones and components that cannot be refurbished are dismantled and responsibly recycled to reclaim materials, including:
Gold, silver and platinum from circuit boards
Copper wiring from phone chargers
Nickel, iron, cadmium and lead from battery packs