Region II is Partnering with Cell Phones for Soldiers to Provide Troops with Free Calls Home

As a kick-off to Military Awareness Month, Region II, which consists of over 600 employees with HUD offices in New York and New Jersey, is joining with the non-profit, Cell Phones for Soldiers Inc., and asking its employees, as well as their friends and family members to help troops call home by donating gently-used cellular phones. With ongoing deployments to combat areas and elsewhere, as many as 369,000 troops are serving in the U.S. military overseas. By donating gently-used cellular phones to Cell Phones for Soldiers, HUD is trying to do its part in helping to provide troops with that precious connection to loved ones back home.

Cell phone trays have been set up in each of the Region II's offices for employees to donate their phones.

"Donating a gently-used phone may not appear to be a great sacrifice for our men and women overseas protecting our country," said Mirza Orriols, Deputy Regional Administrator, "but I can tell you first-hand how precious and valuable it is for our troops to be able to hear the voices of their loved ones back home. So I urge all our employees to donate a phone to our troops far from our shores who are prepared to make the supreme sacrifice to keep this country safe and secure."

Siblings Robbie and Brittany Bergquist founded Cell Phones for Soldiers at the ages of 12 and 13. The charity has since provided more than 114 million minutes of free talk time to service men and women stationed around the world. Funds raised from the recycling of cellular phones are used to purchase pre-paid international calling cards. On average, Cell Phones for Soldiers distributes 12,000 calling cards each week to bases around the world, care package programs, deployment ceremonies and VA hospitals.

"Each year we have been humbled by the amount of people and organizations like the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that take the initiative to support our troops," said co-founder Brittany Bergquist. "We have also watched the communication gap between our armed forces and their loved ones continue to grow as more troops are deployed for their third or fourth tour overseas."

Donated phones are sent to Michigan-based ReCellular for recycling. For every donated phone valued at just $5, Cell Phones for Soldiers is able to provide two and a half hours of free talk time to deployed troops.


Content Archived: April 29, 2014