Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-47, Rome, and AT&T announced Wednesday that more than 910 used mobile devices have been collected over the past month and donated to Cell Phones for Soldiers.
Central New York Veterans Awareness Center and Utica Comets have partnered with Senator Griffo and AT&T for this year’s effort.
This year’s fundraising campaign ran from November 11 to December 11 and spanned Senator Griffo’s district. The public was able to drop off all used mobile devices at 17 collection bins and AT&T stores throughout the district, which includes parts of Oneida and St. Lawrence counties and all of Lewis County.
Thanks to community support, approximately 136,500 minutes free calls will be provided to men and women serving in the military. According to Cell Phones for Soldiers, this is a great achievement based on the limitations the pandemic has placed on fundraising campaigns across the country.
For every $5 donated phone, Cell Phones for Soldiers is able to provide 2.5 hours of free talk time to deployed troops via calling cards. All proceeds from recycled devices will be used to purchase long distance calling cards for troops at home and abroad.
“Year after year, the people of the 47th Senate District continue to show their generosity and willingness to help those in need,” said Senator Griffo. “This year has been no different, and despite significant challenges from COVID-19, everyone has really stepped up once again. I want to thank AT&T, Cell Phones For Soldiers, Central New York Veterans Outreach Center, the Utica Comets, and especially our caring and compassionate community for participating in this fundraising campaign and helping those who sacrifice themselves for our greater good.
AT&T New York President Amy Kramer thanked Griffo for leading the annual community effort and also expressed her thanks to those who donated.
“The generosity of this community and their level of commitment to supporting active military personnel, veterans and their families is overwhelming,” Kramer said. “AT&T is once again honored to participate in this meaningful charitable campaign because, as a communications company, nothing brings us more joy and pride than being able to help connect our serving military and veterans with their loved ones, by especially during the holidays.”
Cell Phones For Soldiers was founded in 2004 by teenagers Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, ages 12 and 13, and is dedicated to providing free communications services, devices and emergency funding to active duty military members and veterans. .
The charity has provided more than 400 million minutes of free talk time to serving military personnel worldwide, and counts through its calling card and communication services program, Minutes That Matter.
Funds raised through the recycling of cell phones and smartphones, MP3 players, tablets, digital cameras and accessories including unwanted, obsolete or broken chargers, cases and cables are used to purchase prepaid international calling cards. On average, Cell Phones For Soldiers distributes 1,500 calling cards each week to bases worldwide, care programs, deployment ceremonies and VA hospitals.
“We are so grateful to AT&T and Senator Griffo for their continued support, and to everyone in Senator Griffo’s district who donated phones and devices to support our troops and veterans,” shelps Rob Bergquist, founder and president of Cell Phones For Soldiers. “Their generosity helps us keep America’s heroes connected with friends and loved ones, and it helps us serve our veterans in need.”