With the help of employees, customers and other partners, Rexel Holdings USA recently collected more than 2,000 unwanted cell phones in a donation drive to benefit the national nonprofit, Cell Phones for Soldiers. Although the military landscape is ever changing, as many as 200,000 troops are serving in the U.S. military overseas around the world. By donating to Cell Phones for Soldiers, Rexel Holdings USA is providing troops with that precious connection to loved ones back home.
“A member of our We’re Here for Others community outreach team proposed the donation campaign with Cell Phones for Soldiers,” says Brad Greene, vice president of human resources and communications at Rexel Holdings USA. “Our employees immediately got behind the program because it makes it easy for them to give back to our troops in a profound way.”
By reaching out to friends, family, customers and other partners, Rexel Holdings USA’s 450 U.S. locations collected enough phones to provide 60,090 minutes of free talk time to help active-duty military members and veterans keep in touch with family this holiday season. Employee enthusiasm was a driving force in the campaign, which exceeded expectations in both participation and results.
Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded in 2004 by teenagers Robbie and Brittany Bergquist at the ages of 12 and 13. The charity has since provided 200 million minutes of free talk time to servicemen and women stationed around the world. Funds raised from the recycling of cellular phones are used to purchase prepaid international calling cards. On average, Cell Phones for Soldiers distributes 8,000 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 Rexel Holdings USA that take the initiative to support our troops,” says co-founder Brittany Bergquist. “The communication gap between those serving and their families is a crucial need that Cell Phones for Soldiers is committed to addressing for years to come.”
Donated phones are sent to Mindful eCycling for recycling. For every donated phone valued at $5, Cell Phones for Soldiers is able to provide two and a half hours of free talk time to deployed troops.
Approximately half of the phones Mindful eCycling processes are reconditioned and reused. Phones and components that cannot be refurbished are dismantled and responsibly recycled to reclaim materials, including:
- Gold, silver and platinum from circuit boards
Copper wiring from phone chargers
Nickel, iron, cadmium and lead from battery packs
Plastic from phone cases and accessories