GUILDERLAND As holiday shopping gears up, a drive is set to give back by issuing cell phone minutes for solders for every cell phone donated.
Senator George Amedore Jr. (R, District 46) has teamed up the Cell Phones for Soldiers charity and AT&T to make this effort possible.
For every donated device worth $5 or more, Cell Phones For Soldiers is able to provide two and a half hours of free talk time on long-distance calling cards to deployed troops. The drive is running now through Dec. 20. Tablets may also be donated.
“The holidays are the most important time for active military to be able to stay in touch with family,” said the senator in a statement.” By donating to Cell Phones For Soldiers, local residents and businesses can provide a lifeline for America’s bravest.”
Amedore was joined by AT&T executives, the founders of Cell Phones for Soldiers and army veterans at a press conference held at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20, at Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, in front of the AT&T store on the mall’s lower level.
As cell phones are a popular gift during the holiday season, the drive hopes to capitalize on this by encouraging residents to donate older models to those in need.
Proceeds from recycled devices are used to buy long distance calling cards for troops at home and abroad. As many as 200,000 troops are serving in the United States military overseas.
The move comes in honor of Military Family Appreciation Month, and with the holiday season upon us.
Donations can be made at the AT&T store at Crossgates mall, the Guilderland Public Library and Albany County Sheriff’s Office in Clarksville (the site of the former Clarksville Elementary School) in Albany County as well as at various locations in Greene, Montgomery, Schenectady and Ulster counties.
Since 2004, the charity has provided over 216 million minutes in free talk time to servicemen and women stationed around the world. Then 12 and 13-year old siblings Robbie and Brittany Berquist formed the charity after hearing of a soldier returning from Iraq with a near $8,000 phone bill from calls made to his family back home. AT&T helped the organization expand in 2007 with their financial support.
For more information on Cell Phones for Soldiers, visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com.