Nebraskans can help GI's to phone home for the holidays

There’s still time to help an effort underway to provide soldiers from Nebraska and across the country a way to pay for telephone calls to home while they’re on duty overseas.

Mike Newman, spokesman for the program “Cell Phones for Soldiers,” says two teenagers in Massachusetts started the effort. They donated 21 dollars after hearing about a soldier who ran up a huge bill calling home. He says four years, later the project has donated millions of dollars in calling cards have been donated to soldiers.

Newman says regulations prevent soldiers from using cellphones to make calls, but he says your old phones can pay for calls. He says the old phones can still be used, and they are cleaned up and old and the money from the sale of those phones is used to buy the calling cards for soldiers.

He says they are encouraging family members with soldiers overseas to go to the site and upload information about the soldier to create a direct channel for donations. For those with old cellphones, he says you can print off a free shipping label to mail in working or non-working phones.

Newman says each used phones provides an average of one hour of talk time for soldiers. He says 82-hundred phones have come in from all parts of Nebraska thus far. He says you can search the database of troops by name, home state, military branch, or theater of deployment to find a servicemember you would like to call home. You can also donate money to the effort. Soldiers will receive an e-mail when they are selected, with the calling card arriving in the mail in one to two weeks.

To find out more, go to www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com.