Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giving and Giving

It's easy, sometimes, in the hurry and flurry of the holiday season, to forget that the real meaning of the season (however you choose to celebrate) is giving and loving, being good to each other, and sharing.

Hubby finally had enough of his cell carrier. It's been an ongoing battle - his phone intermittently doesn't ring, give voice mail notification, or relay text messages. It's not just him, he about missed seeing his oldest boy last weekend because his ex's phone (same service) was doing the same thing. There's only a couple months left on his contract, and the one major carrier up here is having good deals, so he went and told them off and got out of his contract.

The new carrier can't use his old phone, so I was looking for something to do with it besides give it to the kids to play with.

My first thought is to donate it to The Interior Alaska Center for Non-Violent Living, the women's shelter here in Fairbanks. The carrier hubby just left also participates the Lifeline Alaska phone program, which provides phone service to qualifying people for $1 a month, and this phone could save someone who really needs one some money. We'll probably do that.

But while I'm researching I recall a blerb I heard somewhere on an phone recycling program that puts the proceeds into phone cards for military service persons overseas. I literally trip over my very first cell phone, long since relegated to the toy box, so I look them up.

The program is Cell Phones for Soldiers, and it was conceived and started by 12 and 13 year old siblings in 2004. (They've gotten all kinds of accolades for the program, which they started with $21 in lunch money donated by their schoolmates. Check out the site, it's neat!)

Cell Phones for Soldiers is a non-profit organization. They'll take any cell phone at all, because they're recycling, not reusing. They sell the phones to a recycling company. Each phone buys one hour of long-distance talk time for soldiers abroad. They've bought over 400,000 calling cards.

And if that wasn't good enough, your act of generosity is totally painless. Simply print out the pre-paid shipping label, package your phone as minimally as possible (it's a COD label, and the phones won't be used again, so no need to get fancy), and toss the package in a mail box. My old cell fit in a CD mailer. Oh, they even have a link to a cell phone eraser.

So one phone for IAC, which will hopefully help out a brave woman who's getting on her feet, and one phone buys an hour of long distance for a service person who's probably been overseas far longer than they should be.

Yeah, that feels good.

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