AFGE Urges Cell Phone Owners to Donate Used Phones During the Holiday Season
Washington—With the holidays quickly approaching, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is offering individuals a unique opportunity to celebrate the season of giving by helping members of the military stationed overseas stay in touch with their family and loved ones. Through AFGE’s Cell Phones for Soldiers program, 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 home to the United States.
“Many people will get new cell phones as gifts during the holidays,” said AFGE 14th District National Vice President Dwight Bowman. “Instead of letting old cell phones collect dust, why not put them to good use and help support the troops?”
The AFGE cell phone program is an offshoot of the national Massachusetts-based 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.
Since the August launch of AFGE’s cell phone program, AFGE locals have established drop-off sites at VA medical centers across the country including Washington; Philadelphia; Vancouver, Wash.; Roseburg, Ore.; Portland, Ore.; Hot Springs, S.D.; Rapid City, S.D.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Minneapolis; Kansas City, Mo.; Anchorage, Alaska; Austin, Texas; Salem, Va.; Nashville, Tenn.; Tucson, Ariz.; and Cheyenne, Wyo.
In the Washington, D.C., metro area, individuals can donate cell phones at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center at 50 Irving Street, NW and the VA Central Office at 811 Vermont Avenue, NW. Phones will be accepted weekdays at the VA Medical Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in AFGE's union office, room GC-100. The VA Central Office location will accept phones between 1:00 and 3:30 p.m., Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in room 141 of the Lafayette Building. Additionally, the Pentagon will establish cell phone collection boxes for staff donations.
“AFGE represents nearly 185,000 VA employees and many of these individuals are veterans,” said Bowman. “Today’s soldier is tomorrow’s veteran. This is our way of supporting the troops and showing future veterans that we care about them and want to help them through a difficult time.”