Program Helps Connect Military with Their Families Using Old Cell Phones

Nov 25, 2013

The Cell Phones for Soldiers program is 9 years old. It's been active in CNY for 6 years.

  Men and women who are called to serve have a way of calling loved ones this holiday.  Monday, State Senator John DeFrancisco kicked off his 6th annual Cell Phones for Soldiers collection drive. 

Money from recycled phones buys service members more than calling card minutes.

“Whenever you go to a USO overseas, there are bags of these. Everybody runs for them. They’re like gold," said Army Staff Sergeant Alex Joy of Syracuse.

Joy has been deployed to Iraq twice…and says calling cards from Cell Phones for Soldiers save money and keep families connected.

“Being deployed upwards of 12 months at a time can definitely make an impact on a relationship. So, a 15 minute phone call for free can mean the world to anybody. I’ve used them on several occasions myself.”

State Senator John DeFrancisco kicked off 6th annual Cell Phones for Soldiers Monday.


Cell Phones for Soldiers is a national non-profit that collects old phones and turns them over to a recycling company. Money from one phone is enough to buy a service member two hours of prepaid calling card minutes. Mike Burns from the Syracuse Army Recruiting Battalion says the charity wants to take things a bit further this year.

“Since deployments are going down a little bit, what they’re doing is also offering grants through the program.”

Burns says those grants can help veterans and current active members pay household bills.