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Old cell phones can help Red Cross

By Ken Dey
The Idaho Statesman

I'm sure we all have a few old cell phones sitting around the office or tucked away in a drawer.

There's never been a better time to do some spring cell phone cleaning. Gather up those phones and recycle them through a program sponsored by cell phone provider Nextel.

Through the Donate a Phone program, Nextel will give $1.70 for each recycled phone to the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services program.

Nextel has so far raised nearly $400,000 nationwide for the program.

The Armed Forces Emergency Services has been a mission of the Red Cross for more than a century, said Dave Fotsch, public affairs director for the American Red Cross of Greater Idaho.

Fotsch said the program is used to help families contact other family members who are serving in the military. The program is usually used when there's a family emergency or a death in the family.

The Red Cross not only helps in locating and contacting the family member, but also helps offset the costs of travel if a service member has to come home.

Fotsch said the program takes on a new significance in Idaho because of the recent announcement that 2,000 Idaho Army National Guard soldiers with the 116th Cavalry Brigade received an alert notice that they may be called to duty in Iraq.

To donate a cell phone, take it to the Nextel location in Boise at 285 N. Milwaukee.

There are no restrictions on the type of cell phones.

Because the program benefits the Red Cross, you can also claim a tax deduction.

For more information, call Nextel at 322-6280.

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