Brittany Bergquist, Founder of Cell Phones for Soldiers, Connects Military Families with Free Calls
Brittany Bergquist and her brother built the charity’s program to provide that precious connection to loved ones by distributing prepaid international calling cards to troops. Despite the fact that the war is coming to a close, an estimated 65% of military overseas have no means to call home.
In 2004 at the age of 13, Brittany Bergquist was not your average kid. Her quest to help others began while watching the morning news and saw a story of a soldier returning from Iraq with an almost $8,000 cell phone bill. Brittany decided to do something. She couldn’t imagine what it would be like missing a parent during a deployment. At just 13 years old, she along with her brother, founded the 501(c)(3) non-profit Cell Phones for Soldiers with the goal of keeping children and deployed parents connected during deployments. With what started as $21 from her and her brother’s piggybank has grown to be more than $7 million through the recycling and repurposing of used, decommissioned cell phones.
To bridge the communication gap between families and assist all parties in coping with deployment, Brittany has provided more than 150 million minutes of free talk time in the form of prepaid international calling cards.
In 2011, Cell Phones for Soldiers shared 690,000 communication tools with military families, providing more than 41 million minutes of talk time. The program collected and recycled 1.5 million phones in 2011.
“During a family emergency, I used a Cell Phones for Soldiers calling card to stay in touch with my family while waiting for a transient flight to get home. The cards allowed me to stay connected with my wife and mother, and it helped them begin healing right away. I’m so thankful for what you do for us.” 64 ESS/CCF, APO AE 09852
Through increased fundraising efforts, the organization hopes to launch a new program, Helping Heroes Home. Helping Heroes Home will provide emergency funds for returning Veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and assimilation hardships.
Helping Heroes Home will assist veterans with the tools they need to re-enter post war society. This could include communications needs such as the purchase of a cell phone and service to help find a job, assistance with rent or mortgage payments so they can focus on their families or help with the cost of prescription medications to help fight PTSD. Their fight overseas may be over but their fight to assimilate back home has just begun.
More About This Charity
Cell Phones for Soldiers Inc.
Cell Phones For Soldiers is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing free means of communication to the men and women serving in the United States military.
- This charity raised $3,313,000 in the past year
- This Achievement helped 690,000 people
- This charity helped 917,589 people in the past year
- Provided more than 41 million minutes of free talk time to troops, recycled 1.5 million phones
U.S., Germany, Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan, South Africa, Qatar, etc.