Locals Collect Cell Phones For Soldiers

Hillsborough County Commissioners present 2,600 calling cards for troops, thanks to used cell phones collected at 10 locations, including at the Brandon Regional Service Center on Pauls Drive.


In an attempt to do its part to boost soldier morale, Hillsborough County officials in 2008 established collection locations for Cell Phones for Soldiers, a non-profit that collects used cell phones to exchange for calling cards for shipment to troops stationed overseas, including in Afghanistan and Iraq.

At its meeting May 2, Hillsborough County Commissioners presented 2,600 calling cards, representing 170,000 minutes of call time, to representatives from the MacDill Air Force Base Airman and Family Readiness Center, the 6th Medical Group and 6th Air Mobility Wing, and the 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Hillsborough County participates in the program by sending surplus county cell phones and phones collected in boxes located at 10 county facilities. Since August 2008, the county has collected more than 6,800 phones and donated more than 408,000 minutes of talk time to military men and women.


What Is Cell Phones For Soldiers?

  • Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded as a nonprofit in 2004 by two Norwell, Mass., students, Rob and Brittany Bergquist, to provide deployed troops with cost-free methods to communicate with family while serving in the United States military.
  • The nonprofit reports that since 2004 it has raised more than $7 million and provided more than 150 million minutes of free talk time.
  • The organization reportedly mails out about 12,000 calling cards each week and has recycled more than 10 million cell phones, reducing the impact on landfills.
  • Likewise, the nonprofit has provided troops with more than 2 million pre-paid calling cards, equating to more than 150 million minutes of free talk time.
  • Used mobile phones from all service providers are accepted. Each donated device valued at $5 will provide troops with 2.5 hours of free talk time.
  • "Cell Phones for Soldiers started as a small way to show our family's appreciation for the men and women who have sacrificed the day-to-day contact with their own families to serve in the U.S. armed forces," said the teens' father, Bob Bergquist, on the nonprofit's Web site. "Over the past few years, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of others. But, we have also seen the need to support our troops continue to grow as more troops are sent overseas for longer assignments."


Where To Donate Cell Phones For Soldiers

HILLSBOROUGH CELL PHONE COLLECTION LOCATIONS Bloomingdale Regional Library  1906 Bloomingdale Ave.  Valrico Brandon Regional Service Center  311 Pauls Drive  Brandon Carrollwood Cultural Center  4537 Lowell Road  Tampa Fred B. Karl County Center  601 East Kennedy Blvd.  Tampa Jan K. Platt Regional Library  3910 South Manhattan Ave.  Tampa Jimmy B. Keel Regional Library  2902 West Bearss Ave.
 Tampa New Tampa Regional Library  10001 Cross Creek Blvd.  Tampa SouthShore Regional Library  15616 Beth Shields Way  Ruskin SouthShore Regional Service Center  410 30th St. S.E.  Ruskin Upper Tampa Bay Regional Library  11211 Countryway Blvd.  Tampa
Linda Chion Kenney (Editor) May 03, 2012 at 10:29 AM
Now I know what to do with my old cell phones. Seems so useless, given the dramatic changes in technology, year after year. But like old glasses, they can be worth something, via the charities that makes use of them to give back to those in service and with a need


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