State Senator Joe Griffo is urging Central New Yorkers to help make the holidays a little bit brighter for our troops.

 National Cell Phones for Soldiers

Dave Smith, WIBX
Dave Smith, WIBX

The annual drive, now in its eighth straight year, is back up and running across Central New York.

Senator Griffo is urging residents to go through their belongings and locate all their old, unused digital devices. Items like old cell phones and tablets are being sought for a special recycling cause.

Those who donate their old electronics will help purchase prepaid calling cards that are meant for long-distance communication.

The charity accepts all cell phones, tablets, mp3 players, chargers and any of their accessories in their original packaging. Devices can be working or broken.

Senator Griffo says each donated device puts $5 on one of these cards, which gives soldiers two-and-a-half hours of talking time to their families back home.

Why Donate

Griffo said the holidays is a delicate - and sometimes difficult - time for soldiers stationed overseas.

Donating old phones and tablets allows them to at least spend the holidays with their loved ones in spirit.

We are able to provide those who are serving our nation the opportunity to communicate with their families and friends, particularly over the holiday period. We know technology has changed and evolved, and there are other ways to communicate, but this still helps.

There will be multiple Cell Phones for Soldiers recycle booths set up across Central New York.

The charitable campaign runs through December 9.

Over the past 8 years, Central New York has donated roughly 6,500 devices. That has donated a total of 9,800 hours of critical family time for soldiers stationed overseas.

Where to Donate

This year, there are 15 different locations stationed across the area.

Veterans Day

In Utica, people can find these booths at:

  • 50 Forward Mohawk Valley
  • The Adirondack Bank Center on Oriskany St. W
  • Central New York Veterans Outreach Center
  • Chanatry's Hometown Market
  • Utica Public Library
  • Utica State Office Building on Genesee St

Elsewhere in Central New York, stands can be found at:

  • Bridgewater Municipal Building
  • Cazenovia Public Library
  • Hamilton Public Library (Hamilton, NY)
  • Jervis Public Library (Rome, NY)
  • New Hartford Public Library
  • New York Pizzeria (New Berlin, NY)
  • Oneida Public Library
  • Sherburne Public Library
  • West Winfield Library

More info about Cell Phones for Soldiers

Dave Smith, WIBX
Dave Smith, WIBX

Per the official website:

Cell Phones for Soldiers is a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing cost-free communication services and emergency funding to active-duty military members and veterans. Since 2004, the charity has provided more than 400 million minutes of airtime to servicemen and women deployed around the world, by recycling more than 25 million cell phones reducing the impact on landfills.

Since the organization started nearly 20 years ago, over 400 million minutes of free talk time has been given to soldiers.

Additionally, the charity has assisted over 7,500 veterans and their families with emergency funding via their Helping Heroes Home project.

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