Support our troops this holiday season

Are you buying a new cell phone for a family member or friend this holiday season as a gift? Do you have old cell phones lying around the house? Instead of throwing away that used cell phone, or stuffing it in a drawer, I urge you to think twice.

By donating that phone to Cell Phones for Soldiers, it can help the men and women serving in the military overseas stay connected with their families.

Once again, I kicked off the holiday season this year by calling on Central New Yorkers to support our troops by donating their used cell phones to Cell Phones for Soldiers. Our military men and women make a tremendous sacrifice for all of us. In return, let us show our appreciation and help them stay connected. What better gift to give than to help our troops reach their loved ones.

Last year, Central New Yorkers showed an overwhelming amount of support and delivered more than 1,500 phones through this program. The generosity of our community provided 2,200 soldiers with a half hour of talk time each.

I am proud to be able to contribute to a worthy cause and to give back to those men and women who make such incredible sacrifice for us all.

Local residents can support the collection drive by delivering their used cell phones to my District Office: 800 State Office Building, 333 E. Washington St., Syracuse, New York 13202. Phone is 428-7632.

Cell phones can also be brought to drop-off points at the Information Centers at Shoppingtown Mall, Great Northern Mall, and Carousel Mall, and to Solvay Public Library. The cell phone drive will run through January.

Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded by teenagers Robbie and Brittany Bergquist from Norwell, Mass., with $21 of their own money. Since then, the registered 501c3 non-profit organization has raised almost $1 million in

donations and distributed more than 500,000 prepaid calling cards to

soldiers serving overseas.

Through increased fundraising efforts, the Bergquist family hopes to fund new programs, such as providing video phones and prepaid service to allow soldiers abroad to see their families on a regular basis.

To find out more about the program, please visit cellphonesforsoldiers.com.

May you have a happy and joyous holiday season.

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