By Leah Leach
Peninsula Daily News
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Collection cans for donated phones will be set up around Port Townsend, Port Hadlock, Quilcene and Sequim this week, said Maxine Peirson, co-director with Gabriele Babik of the small school.
The private Christian school, which serves preschool through fifth grade, is working with the national Cell Phones for Soldiers Inc.
“By donating cellular phones to Cell Phones for Soldiers, Jefferson County residents can provide troops and veterans with that precious connection to loved ones back home, as well as other support,” Peirson said.
The donated cellphones are sold to ReCellular for recycling, according to Cell Phones for Soldiers.
The funds raised are used to purchase pre-paid international calling cards.
For every donated phone valued at just $5, Cell Phones for Soldiers can provide two and a half hours of free talk time.
The organization distributes an average of 12,000 calling cards each week to bases around the world, care package programs, deployment ceremonies and U.S. Veterans Affairs hospitals.
“Our school has been listed on the website map as a drop-off site for Cell Phones for Soldiers for several years,” Peirson said, but this year is the first year that the school has set out cans for the general public.
“This is the first time we’ve done a campaign,” she said.
“We want folks to find convenient places to drop off their used phones to be able to help out in this way.”
Phones can be dropped off at the school housed at Calvary Community Church at 82 Romans Road, Port Townsend; Swan School at 2345 Kuhn St., Port Townsend; Jefferson Community School, 280 Quincy St., Port Townsend; and Cedarbrook Seventh-day Adventist Christian School, 461 Kennedy Road, Port Hadlock.
Collection cans also are located at the Black Bear Diner at 1471 E. Washington St. in Sequim; Burger’s Landing, 783 Ness Corner Road, Port Hadlock; the Valley Tavern, 21 Chimacum Road, Port Hadlock; Hadlock Building Supply, 901 Ness Corner Road, Port Hadlock; Dream City Market and Café, 23 Kala Square Place, Port Townsend; Olympic Art & Office, 220 Taylor St., Port Townsend; Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Center, 620 Tyler St., Port Townsend; Henery’s Hardware, 294382 U.S. 101 Highway, Quilcene; Sea Breeze Gas & Grocery, 545 Hendricks St. Port Townsend; and the Pizza Factory, 11-2 Water St, Port Townsend.
Cell Phones for Soldiers also lists the Jefferson Education Center at 209 W. Patison St., Port Hadlock and the Sequim Vineyard Church, 111 River Road on its website at www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com.
Veterans are a priority for Cell Phones for Soldiers, and since July the organization has assisted more than 73 veterans and their families with emergency needs through a new program, Helping Heroes Home, Peirson said.
Requests are submitted to aid veterans as they transition into post-combat life, and the program has provided them with mobile phones and service, car repairs and home bill payments.
Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded by Robbie and Brittany Berquist of Norwell, Mass., when they were 12 and 13 years old.
This charity has since provided more than 114 million minutes of free talk time to service men and women stationed around the world.
For more information about the school, visit www.newdaylearning.org.