The weather is getting colder, there are Christmas commercials on TV and children everywhere are getting excited that Santa Clause will soon be here.  For many, the planning for get-togethers are already underway and yes even some already have the Christmas tree all lit up in its holiday glory. 

 

The weather is getting colder, there are Christmas commercials on TV and children everywhere are getting excited that Santa Clause will soon be here.  For many, the planning for get-togethers are already underway and yes even some already have the Christmas tree all lit up in its holiday glory. 
The time of blessings are upon us and being thankful seems to be as catching as the next cold.  But for some, the holidays mean spending time away from friends and family, as many brave men and women find themselves surrounded with little Christmas cheer over seas. 

About the project

This holiday season, Phillips County is encouraged to remember your veterans, show them that their efforts have not gone forgotten and that we are thinking of them in this time of holiday cheer. 
“According to Parade Magazine, there are many ways we can show our appreciation and support to our veterans such as putting your old cell phones to use and saving your recently expired coupons,” explained Mary Ned Foster, local veteran advocate.  Foster explained that shipping your old cell phones to Cell Phones for Soldiers grants the great gift of one-hour talk time for troops over seas this holiday season.
Cell Phones for Soldiers is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing deployed and returning troops cost-free methods to communicate with family while serving in the military.
 
About CPFS:

Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, then 12 and 13 years old respectively, with only $21, founded the organization in 2004. CPFS relies on generous donors for cash contributions and funds raised by the recycling of used cell phones.
Since its inception in 2004, Cell Phones for Soldiers has worked to keep military families connected by providing FREE communication tools to those serving overseas in the United States military. In seven years, the registered 501(c)(3) has provided troops with more than 2 million pre-paid calling cards, equating to 114 million minutes of FREE talk time.

Cell Phones for Soldiers hopes to continue its mission to provide troops with FREE calls home through generous monetary contributions and the recycling of used mobile phones. Used mobile phones from all service providers are accepted.
Cell Phones for Soldiers started as a small way to show military families the appreciation to all the men and women who have sacrificed the day-to-day contact with their own families to serve in the U.S. armed forces.  Over the past few years, there has been an overwhelming sense of generosity from all walks of life.  However, the need to support our troops continues to grow, as more troops are sent overseas for longer assignments.
Through increased fundraising efforts, CPFS hopes to raise additional funds to support new programs such as providing phones with prepaid service to allow soldiers abroad to talk to their families on a regular basis.

CPFS Fast Facts:

• Since 2004, CPFS has raised more than $7 million and provided more than 114 million minutes of free talk time
• Mails approximately 12,000 calling cards each week
• Recycles more than 8.3 million cell phones, reducing the impact on landfills
• Anticipates the launch of a new program, Helping Heroes Home, to provide returning troops with 30-days of free phone service following deployment.
• Has remained a family-run, non-profit organization operated almost exclusively by Bob, Gail, Brittany, Robbie and Courtney Bergquist of Massachusetts.

Did you know?

• Due to extreme work conditions and lack of family interaction, 42 percent of military personnel have reported feeling like a "guest" in their home following deployment.
• Divorce rates nearly doubled for military members from 2001 to 2004 and have risen steadily ever since. CPFS works to keep families close by helping them communicate regularly during deployment.
• One in five returning troops from Iraq and Afghanistan show signs and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), stemming from extreme work conditions and lack of emotional support.
• Thirty percent of deployed troops suffer from PTSD, depression or anxiety.
• Studies by the United States Army reveal a direct correlation between PTSD and family problems.
• The Military Benefits Deployment Center lists staying in touch with loved ones as a top-five "how to survive deployment" strategy.
• Currently in the United States, one in four homeless persons is a veteran.
(Statistical information provided by the Center for American Progress)

Environmental Benefits:

• Each year more than 130 million cell phones are decommissioned.
• Cell phones contain hazardous chemicals and heavy metals that pollute the earth if placed in landfills.
• Donated devices are sent to ReCellular, the world's largest recycler of mobile devices.