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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Cell phones to be collected for soldiers

Thursday, February 28, 2008

THAYER -- A local business is trying to help soldiers overseas by collecting used, disgarded, even broken cell phones.

The project is called Cell Phones for Soldiers and was first started by teenagers Brittany and Robbie Berquist of Norwell, Md. and H&R Block of Thayer is helping with the project.

After reading a story about a soldier who ran up a huge phone bill calling home from Iraq, the teenagers decided to help out.

"They started by opening an account with $21 of their own money. They are collecting cash donations and old cell phones," said Catherine McPherson owner of the local H&R Block.

McPherson said cell phones and or cash donations can be left at her office located at 113 Chestnut Street in Thayer.

The cell phones are recycled for cash and the proceeds are used to buy prepaid calling cards for soldiers serving in the Middle East.

Cell Phones for Soldiers is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

There are currently more than 150,000 troops serving overseas and are away from their families.

McPherson said Cell Phone for Soldiers hopes to collect over 50,000 cell phones to keep the nation's troops connected with their families.

"We're proud to show our support for U.S. soldiers and to contribute to a worthy cause like Cell Phones for Soldiers," she said.

McPherson said since the program began, over $1 million in donations have been raised and 500,000 pre-paid calling cards have been distributed to soldiers serving overseas.

Through increased fundraising efforts, the Berquist family hopes to raise more than $9 million in the next five years to fund new programs, such as providing phones and pre-paid service to allow soldiers abroad to talk to their families on a regular basis.

McPherson said the phones are sent to ReCellular which pays Cell Phones for Soldiers for each donated phone, enough to provide an hour of time of talk to soldiers abroad.

Approximately half of the phones ReCellular processes are reconditioned and sold to wholesale companies in over 40 countries across the world. Phones and components that cannot be refurbished are dismantled and recycled to reclaim materials.

Many H&R Block offices across the country are participating in then project.

For more information call McPherson at 417-264-3600.

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