Michele Barletto-Baldwin’s husband is a disabled Vietnam veteran, her main motive to get involved with Cell Phones for Soldiers by setting up three drop off locations in Lacey.
Residents can now stop by Battaglia Chiropractic, Lacey Collision and New Concepts Hair Salon to drop off used cell phones.
Barletto-Baldwin will then pick up the donations and send them to Cell Phones for Soldiers, where they will then be recycled. The money the organization receives from recycling cell phones is used to purchase calling cards and other communication tools for the U.S. military.
“I just think it’s such a worthy cause,” she said.
Cell Phones for Soldiers began in 2004 as a non-profit organization with the purpose of providing cost-free communication services to active duty military members and veterans. Since its inception, Cell Phones for Soldiers has provided more than 168 million minutes of free talk time and recycled more than 10.5 million cell phones.
Barletto-Baldwin, a paraprofessional at the Mill Pond School, started participating by setting up drop boxes in the schools to encourage student involvement. Since she started the collection three weeks ago, she has received approximately 14 phones to donate. The public can drop off their cell phones at the aforementioned local businesses.
“I’ll be doing this as long as I live in Lacey. There’s no reason to stop because everyone has an old cell phone. There’s always going to be a soldier somewhere who needs one,” she said.
Barletto-Baldwin pointed out when soldiers fought in previous wars, communication was limited to mail. Today, phone cards for overseas are costly, she said.
“It’s important. When guys came home from Vietnam, it was not a good situation. You may not support the war in Iraq, but support the troops,” she said.
Battaglia Chiropractic is located at 15 Manchester Avenue in Forked River.
Lacey Collision 341 Route 9 in Lanoka Harbor.
New Concepts Hair Salon is located at 44 Manchester Avenue in Forked River.