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This past April, Ladies' Home Journal staffers collected 39 cell phones and donated them to Cell Phones for Soldiers, a nonprofit organization that recycles the devices and uses the money raised to buy calling cards for soldiers serving overseas. The staff challenge was a part of LHJ's Do Good initiative, a program that inspires readers to make a difference through small acts of kindness and by participating in larger efforts in their communities.
Founded five years ago by Brittany Bergquist, 18, and her brother Robbie, 17, CPFS has raised more than $5 million and sent more than 500,000 hours' worth of calling cards to U.S. troops. "Each phone translates into about one hour of talk time between those troops and their loved ones," Brittany says. "A lot of times we hear that the troops feel like they're forgotten, so it means a lot to us to know we can give them reassurance that they're still loved."
Brittany sent an e-mail to LHJ thanking the staff for their donations. She included a heartfelt letter from a soldier who has been able to communicate with his family more frequently thanks to CPFS. Sue Erneta, LHJ's fashion editor, was especially touched by the soldier's story. "We all know how hard it is to be away from our loved ones," Sue says. "But when you're putting your life on the line every day, it's even more important to make that connection with the people you love."
If you'd like to donate a cell phone or learn more about the program, visit cellphonesforsoldiers.com.
Originally published on LHJ.com, July 2009.