Two ambitious teenagers have started a nationwide program to help U.S. troops overseas. Itâ€™s called â€˜Cell Phones for Soldiersâ€™ and has grown into a very popular philanthropy. News on 6 reporter Jennifer Loren reports the Massachusetts teens were in Tulsa on Monday to join forces with a local group that has the same mission.
Brittany and Robbie Bergquist started their program, â€˜Cell Phones for Soldiers,â€™ when they were 12 and 13. They began collecting money for a soldier who had an $8,000 cell phone bill when he came home from the war.
"You just, out of the kindness of your hearts, decided you wanted to help this soldier that you heard about?â€ asked News on 6 reporter Jennifer Loren.
â€œYeah, we just thought you know, itâ€™s not right that he should be protecting us and having to pay such a large phone bill, and so that's where we got our idea," said Robbie Bergquist.
That idea has turned into a national non-profit organization recycling used cell phones, and using the money to buy prepaid phone cards to send to troops overseas.
"We've sent a little over 1.5 million minutes over to the troops, and we send out hundreds of phone cards every month and collect thousands of phones every month," Brittany Bergquist said.
Sherri Wamego accepted $5,000 worth of calling cards for her non-profit organization. The â€˜Hugs Projectâ€™ is an Oklahoma-based group that sends special care packages to the frontlines. Now they'll include phone cards.
"That will go quite a ways. You know one card is contact to home,â€ said Sherri Wamego. â€œAnd that's just so reassuring to the soldiers overseas."
"And if you ever need any more let us know and we'll be more than happy to send them," Brittany said.
Both groups came together on Monday at the Liberty Tax Service, which is an official drop off location for â€˜Cell Phones for Soldiers.â€™ In fact there are more than 2,000 drop off locations nationwide.
"They risk their lives every single day for us, and for us to help them, is just, me and Brittany feel like its a job for us, that we have to do,â€ Robbie said. â€œWe just feel honored that we can help them."
You can drop your used cell phones off at any Liberty Tax Service nationwide. Oklahoma donations will go to Oklahoma troops. For more information on the program, you can visit the â€˜Cell Pones for Soldiersâ€™