“Helping Heroes Home” To Aid Veterans With Emergency Relief Funds
NORWELL, Mass., June 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Founders of Cell Phones for Soldiers, Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, announced Wednesday “Helping Heroes Home,” a new initiative designed to provide emergency funds for returning veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and assimilation hardships.
Founded in 2004, Cell Phones for Soldiers is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that spent its first eight years supplying deployed troops cost-free methods to communicate with family while serving in the United States military.
According to the unpublished 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics data, thirty percent of veterans ages 18 to 24 are unemployed; while statistical information from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that more than 968,000 veterans ages 18 to 64 have been in poverty in the past year. With thousands of servicemen and women returning from active duty, Cell Phones for Soldiers will expand its mission to address the ever-increasing need to provide fast relief in the form of phone service, past-due bill payment, urgent car repairs, emergency medical expenses and more.
“Since starting Cell Phones for Soldiers, we’ve wanted to create a program that would allow us to serve veterans here at home,” said Brittany Bergquist. ‘Helping Heroes Home’ is that solution. It allows us to quickly amend a difficult situation and restore some peace of mind and support.”
The “Helping Heroes Home” program has established relationships with local veterans’ administrations, veterans’ hospitals and similar groups to identify veterans in need.
The program initially will serve veterans in the Northeast with a national roll out planned for later this year. Veterans in need are asked to contact a local veteran organization to make requests for “Helping Heroes Home” support.
“The partnership with veterans’ organizations is vital to the success of ‘Helping Heroes Home’,” said Robbie Bergquist. “However, ‘Helping Heroes Home’ also relies on the generosity of individual and corporate donors such as AT&T.”
“When AT&T came on board to support Cell Phones for Soldiers many years ago, the program grew by leaps and bounds. It is our hope that the tremendous relationship with AT&T will showcase a shared passion for serving our veterans and provide reprieve from the challenges they face.”
Working with its customers, AT&T is supporting “Helping Heroes Home” by donating more than $450,000 to address communication needs facing veterans today. Those needs can entail cell phone access, cell phone service, Internet service and/or any communication need within AT&T’s comprehensive telecommunications portfolio.
In addition, through AT&T’s Causes.com community page, Connect For Good, the “Helping Heroes Home” program could receive up to an additional $50,000. AT&T will donate $2 when an individual watches the “Helping Heroes Home” through Connect For Good video and $1 when that person shares it with friends.
“AT&T’s continued support for Cell Phones for Soldiers, and our recent Causes campaign to expand their new ‘Helping Heroes Home’ initiative, reflects our dedication to supporting both our deployed soldiers and those returning home,” said Jason Leiker, AVP, Sustainability Operations at AT&T. “Our military efforts don’t just reach those in uniform: AT&T is dedicated to serving the families of those who serve our country. Through support for programs that benefit military families, we help ensure that our heroes return to happy, healthy homes.”
AT&T and its customers have supported Cell Phones for Soldiers since 2007. In the past six years, AT&T donated more than $4 million and distributed more than 600,000 AT&T prepaid calling cards to servicemen and women overseas.
ABOUT CELL PHONES FOR SOLDIERS INC.
Cell Phones for Soldiers Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing cost-free communication services to active duty military members and veterans. Based in Norwell, Mass., Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, then 12 and 13 years old. The organization has provided more than 150 million minutes of free talk time to deployed military members. Beginning in 2012, “Helping Heroes Home” will provide emergency funds for returning veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and assimilation hardships. For more information, visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com, www.helpingheroeshome.org or http://www.facebook.com/JoinCellPhonesforSoldiers.
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