Cell Phones for Soldiers Celebrates Earth Day and 20 Years of Helping Service Members and the Environment

Passionate Cause Started in 2004 by Two Children Has Grown Into a National Nonprofit that has Donated 400M+ Minutes of Airtime, Connected Thousands of Service Members, Veterans, and Families, while Saving 25M+ Electronic Devices from Landfills 

ALPHARETTA, Ga., April 18, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Cell Phones for Soldiers, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping consumers recycle and reuse their electronic devices to provide cost-free communication services and emergency funding to active-duty military members, Veterans, and their families, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month. The anniversary is perfectly timed with Earth Day since the nonprofit helps minimize electronic waste and divert millions of electronic devices from landfills.

In 2004, 13-year-old Brittany and 12-year-old Robbie Bergquist saw a local TV story about a soldier’s $8,000 cell phone bill while they were getting ready for school one morning. The soldier racked up the bill while deployed in Afghanistan, calling home to his family and friends. After hearing the story, the siblings jumped into action, collected lunch money from friends, and later organized car washes and bake sales to chip away at the bill. Within a couple of weeks, they paid off the bill entirely and received national media recognition for their efforts. As the story spread, the donations and requests for assistance poured in. The Bergquist family launched a nonprofit, Cell Phones for Soldiers (CPFS), aimed to provide calling cards to connect deployed service members with their friends and family at home. The name came with confusion from supporters, with thousands of used cell phones being donated and mailed to the family home. Since phones could not be sent directly overseas, the nonprofit recycled the donated devices to generate revenue for the calling cards.

Fast forward 20 years later, and CPFS has donated over 400 million minutes of airtime via calling cards and helped thousands of service members, Veterans, and their loved ones stay connected. They have also saved more than 25 million electronic devices from landfills. Today, CP4S provides cost-free phones and mobile service to homeless or low-income Veterans. To commemorate its 20th anniversary, CPFS has set a goal of connecting 20,000 Veterans with phones and service in the next three years to stay connected to all the resources they need to assimilate into civilian life.

“The Cell Phones for Soldiers story is a great example of how anyone, even just a couple of kids watching TV who want to help, can make a big difference in the world and change people’s lives,” said Rob Bergquist, co-founder and president of Cell Phones for Soldiers. “This Earth Day, why not do something for the planet and humankind? Clean out your junk drawers and clear your old phones so you can donate them and pay it forward. Your old, unused phone can change someone’s life and be their new lifeline.”

Donating your phone to CPFS is a simple and impactful way to support our cause. You can do it via US Mail or at one of our 3,000 drop-off locations across the United States. Every donation, no matter how small, makes a difference. If you’re unsure about how to clear your phone or reset devices back to factory settings, don’t worry. Our recycling partners can do it for you, following the Department of Defense standards for wiping hard drives and devices.

Cell Phones For Soldiers is a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing cost-free communication services and emergency funding to active-duty military members and veterans. For 20 years, the charity has provided more than 400 million minutes of talk time to servicemen and women deployed around the world by recycling more than 25 million cell phones, reducing the impact on landfills.

Media Contacts:

Matthew Richardson

Guyer Group for Cell Phones for Soldiers

[email protected]

Kimberly Otzman

Guyer Group for Cell Phones for Soldiers

[email protected]