Washington —After launching its Cell Phones for Soldiers (CPFS) pilot program in early August, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), in conjunction with AFGE’s National Veterans Affairs (VA) Council, marked the nationwide expansion of its program by holding a National Day of Collection at the Washington, D.C. VA Medical Center. Through CPFS, participants can donate used cell phones, with attached batteries, at designated drop-off sites. The phones will then be recycled for cash and used to purchase prepaid calling cards for soldiers who cannot afford to make costly long distance phone calls to the United States.
D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton served as a featured speaker for the event.
“Today’s soldier is tomorrow’s veteran,” said AFGE 14th District National Vice President Dwight Bowman. “Joining the Cell Phones for Soldiers program is another way for us to support the troops and do what we can to help them through a difficult time.”
Since the launch of the CPFS pilot program, AFGE locals have sponsored drop-off sites at VA medical centers across the country. The VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C., is one of the latest facilities to join the CPFS effort.
AFGE represents nearly 185,000 VA employees, many of whom are veterans.
“With the addition of the VA medical center in Washington, D.C., we can tap into a larger population center, collect more cell phones and help a greater number of soldiers,” said Alma Lee, president, AFGE National VA Council.
The AFGE CPFS program is an offshoot of the national Massachusetts-based CPFS initiative. Started by two teenagers, Brittany and Robbie Bergquist, the program began in 2004 and has raised more than $250,000 and sent more than 50,000 prepaid calling cards to U.S. troops.
In addition to Washington, D.C., the following cities have established CPFS drop-off sites: Philadelphia, Pa.; Vancouver, Wash.; Roseburg, Ore.; Portland, Ore.; Hot Springs, S.D., Rapid City, S.D., Sioux Falls, S.D.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Kansas City, Mo.; Anchorage, Alaska; Austin Texas; and Tucson, Ariz.
Each individual VA center determines its own drop-off locations and hours of operation. For this information, as well as the name and number of a local representative, please contact the AFGE Communications Department at 202-639-6419 or [email protected].
For more information, please also visit www.afge.org.