UTICA,N.Y. -- Sen. Joe Griffo kicked off the annual Cell Phones for Soldiers Collection Drive on Friday, an initiative that encourages people to take their unused cell phones or tablets, and donate them at one of the drop-off locations.
The parts of the phone/tablet are then sold and the proceeds go towards paying for calling cards for soldiers serving overseas.
Calling cards allow soldiers to make phone calls from wherever they are serving during the holidays.
For every phone donated valued at $5, Cell Phones for Soldiers is able to provide 2 1/2 hours of free talk time to soldiers via calling cards.
“The upcoming holidays are an especially hard time for our soldiers overseas to be so far away from their families, and the simple sound of a loved one’s voice can go a long way to lift up their spirits,” said Sen. Griffo. “These brave men and women have stepped up to serve our nation, and so I am proud to once again team up with AT&T, the Central New York Veterans Outreach Center and Cell Phones for Soldiers to help connect these troops to their families back home.”
The public, as well as local businesses, can drop off unused and unwanted cellphones/tablets at collection bins at AT&T stores throughout the area.
The collection drive starts on Friday, Nov. 8 and goes to Sunday, Dec. 9.
People are reminded to erase all personal information that may be stored on phones for privacy protection. This includes removing the SIM card; erasing contacts, photos, messages and other stored information; or restoring the device factory settings.
Here is the complete list of drop-off locations:
- Adirondack Center at Utica Memorial Auditorium, 400 Oriskant St. West, Utica
- Jervis Public Library, 613 N. Washington St., Rome
- Utica Public Library, 303 Genesee St., Utica
- Chanatry's Hometown Market, 485 French Road, Utica
- Utica State Office Building, 207 Genesee St., Utica
- Turning Stone Resort and Casino, 5218 Patrick Road, Verona
- New Hartford Public Library, 2 Library Lane, New Hartford
- Lloyds of Lowville, 7405 S. State St., Lowville
- Lowville Free Library, 5387 Dayan St., Lowville
- Beaver River Memorial Post, 9833 Main St., Croghan
- Sergi’s Italian Restaurant: 10 Market St., Potsdam
- Town of Potsdam Offices: 18 Market St., Potsdam
- Massena Public Library: 41 Glenn St, Massena
- AT&T locations at:
- 4777 Commercial Drive, New Hartford
- 1319 Erie Boulevard W., Rome
- 224 N. Genesee St., Utica
- First Source Federal Credit Union locations at:
- 4451 Commercial Drive, New Hartford
- 1634 Genesee St., Utica
- 1822 Black River Boulevard, Rome