I'd heard about them before, but my dad reminded me of them Saturday when he mentioned having heard about them last week. Coincidentally, I got a letter on Saturday telling me that I was eligible to renew my contract and get a new phone. With Cell Phones for Soldiers in mind, I headed over to Verizon and browsed their selection. I'm usually not one to make a switch too quickly when it's something that I'll have to live with everyday for the next two years. But, partly motivated by the opportunity to give to this cause, I found a phone I liked and picked it up.
Cell Phones for Soldiers has a very simple mission: "Help our troops call home." I like it because it's straightforward and simple. What's unique about Cell Phones for Soldiers is that two teenagers, after learning about the prohibitive costs and difficulties for soldiers trying to call their families, decided to do something about it. Now they collect donated phones and redeem them for cash from a company that refurbishes them. With the money, they buy prepaid calling cards and give them to soldiers so they can call home.
Everyone wins. Cell phones are recycled: Good for the environment. Soldiers connect with their families: Good for relationships.
Afterwards, I had plans to meet up with friends at Panera Bread. When I arrived, I was telling them about my new phone, and for some reason one of them asked if I'd kept my old phone. When they learned I had, they were all excited because one of them had just lost his. So, I donated my phone to my friend. I know, I know. What about he soldiers? This is the worst ending to a good cause story ever. I don't even end up supporting the cause I'm promoting. That's like when Ross Perot had a platform to "Buy American" and was found to drive a foreign car.
I got no defense. But I'm not running for President.