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Cell Phones for Soldiers Continues to Grow

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Cell Phones for Soldiers continues to grow. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It started a little over three years ago…..when a couple of kids from Massachusetts, Robbie and Brittany Bergquist heard a story about a soldier who got a cell phone bill for eight thousand dollars that he couldn't afford to pay. They broke into their piggy banks…and went to their local bank to start a fund. The bank kicked in some money….and the new charitable organization was on its way. It evolved into a program that collects old cell phones…turns them into a recycler for money…that is used to send calling cards to the troops in Iraq and elsewhere. 16 year old Brittany, her 15 year old brother and their parents spend hours every day running the program from their home…

"It's probably on average about three hours a day. We have help from our parents who also put in a lot of work each day."

They've raised more than a million dollars so far, and…

"We've heard a lot back from the soldiers who have received the calling cards and also from their loved ones that have been able to communicate with their family members that are serving overseas. And they just say that they really appreciate being able to talk to their loved ones, that it's really like a life line."

Now…the nation's largest phone company, AT&T….is opening up its 18 hundred retail stores…as drop off points…where people can donate their old handsets to Cell Phones for Soldiers. The goal is to distribute more than 12 million minutes of prepaid calling cards to U.S. troops this year. Bloomberg Boot camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.