Donations Help Soldiers Call Home

The cell phone industry estimates 107 million new cell phones will be sold this year. This leaves millions of phones that can be used to help American soldiers keep in touch with loved ones.

Sandy Manning has gone through three overseas deployments with her husband and hundreds of dollars in phone charges.

Sandy, a Taylor County resident, says, "It's hard because the husbands and the dads are overseas and you do want to talk to them. When you get on the phone it's hard to say goodbye, so you end up just racking up those minutes. It gets very expensive."

Big Bend Properties of Taylor County is now a collection site for "Cell Phones for Soldiers." The nationwide program helps relieve the stress and expense of staying in touch with American soldiers.

Vickie Lyndsay says, "Phones are sent to the soldiers for their use. Also, the ones that are not sent over there as phones themselves are sent back to the companies. They buy them back and provide free telephone cards in which the soldiers can use to call."

Two Massachusetts teenagers started Cell Phones for Soldiers in 2004 after hearing of one soldier's cell phone bill being more than $7,000. Big Bend Properties is proud to be the first and only collection site in Taylor County.

Vickie adds, "They can bring their phones and their accessories here. We can give them a receipt that is tax deductible."

All makes, models, and accessories are accepted.

There is also a collection site at Killearn Lakes Elementary School in Tallahassee.