Donated Cell Phones Equal Calling Cards for Soldiers

Most of us take it for granted that we can pull out a phone and call whomever we want. But for soldiers overseas, it is difficult at times and always expensive. In Statesboro, students at Mattie Lively Elementary have rallied around the cause.

In between math and spelling, first grader Mahlon Williams has become a collector of cell phones--red phones, blue phones, old phones and new phones. "Some of them you have to open the case off of them and open like this and some of them are without batteries," he said.

With every make and model of phone, the pile on first grade teacher Rhonda Sauls' floor grows bigger. Weeks ago, she heard about a plan to collect phones and help deployed soldiers call home. "Our first goal was 100 phones and we surpassed that. Our second goal was 200 phones and we passed that Monday."

They won't send the phones to soldiers. They'll sell them to a company that recycles them for scrap materials. The money goes to calling cards sent to soldiers in Iraq.

Mahlon hopes his school brings in a thousand phones and one of the cards gets in the hands of his soldier. When we asked him where his dad is, he told us, "At Fort Stewart and he's coming back in January."

"We have a number of students whose father or mother is overseas," said Sauls. "And we have several teachers with ties overseas, whether it's cousins, brothers, sisters and some of them, husbands or wives."

Sauls says the more phones they can find, the more they can show children like Mahlon the other side of the world isn't that far away.

If you'd like to mail or drop off a phone, here's the address:

Mattie Lively Elementary School
204 Debbie Drive
Statesboro, Ga. 30458

More about this national program is available online:

Reported by: Dal Cannady,