An effort is underway to provide soldiers from Iowa and across the country a way to pay for calls home while on duty overseas. Mike Newman is the spokesperson for "Cell Phones for Soldiers."
Newman says two teenagers in Massachusetts started "Cell Phones for Soldiers" who donated $21 after hearing about a soldier who ran up a huge bill calling home. He says four years later the project has donated millions of dollars in calling cards have been donated to soldiers. Newman says regulations prevent soldiers from using cellphones to make calls, but he says your old phones can pay for calls.
He says the old phones can still be used, and they are cleaned up and sold and the money from the sale of those phones is used to buy the calling cards for soldiers. Newman says you can help by visiting the Cell Phones for Soldiers website. Newman says they are encouraging family members with soldiers overseas to go to the site and upload information about the soldier to create a direct channel for donations.
For those with old cellphones, he says you can print off a free shipping label to mail in working or non-working phones. Newman says each used phones provides an average of one hour of talk time for soldiers. Newman says many Iowans have already taken part.
Newman says 14,000 phones have come in from Iowa thus far. He says you can search the database of troops by name, home state, military branch, or theater of deployment to find a servicemember you would like to call home. You can also donate money to the effort.
Soldiers will receive an e-mail when they are selected, with the calling card arriving in the mail in one to two weeks. To find out more, go to the Celll Phones for Soldiers website.