A local funeral home is collecting old cell phones to help soldiers call their loved ones for Valentine’s Day.

Gates, Kingsley & Gates Moeller Murphy Funeral Directors is asking its employees, residents and local business owners to donate “gently-used cell phones” as part of a nationwide recycling program Cell Phones for Soldiers, which recycles the phones and uses proceeds to provide pre-paid calling cards to U.S. troops.

“Helping families keep in touch with loved ones deployed around the world is one of the most important ways we can help support our troops,” said Darlene Allen, grandmother of two deployed servicemen. “Enabling families to stay in touch, especially on days like Valentine’s Day, when an extra ‘I love you’ and the knowledge that our soldiers are OK means more than most will ever know.”

To donate, simply bring your cell phones to Gates, Kingsley & Gates Moeller Murphy Funeral Directors, 1925 Arizona Ave. Phones can be dropped off seven days a week between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. For more information, contact (310) 395-9988.

“What is a better day than Valentine’s Day, the day that hearts speak, to give our military families another way to stay connected,” said Jeffrey W. Baker, general manager of Gates, Kingsley & Gates. “We are proud to support Cell Phones for Soldiers as part of our commitment to our servicemen and women stationed around the world.”

Cell Phones for Soldiers was created by Brittany and Robbie Bergquist of Norwell, Mass. After reading a story about a soldier who ran up a huge phone bill calling home from Iraq, these two teenagers decided to help out. They started by opening an account with $21 of their own money. They collect cash donations and old cell phones, which are recycled for cash.

DP

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