State employees getting new cell phones for the holidays can help overseas soldiers phone home by donating their old phones.

Gov. Scott Walker announced in a news release on Tuesday that all state government agencies will again take part in the "Cell Phones for Soldiers" campaign, collecting used cell phones from employees through the end of 2012.

The campaign was started in 2004 by siblings Robbie and Brittany Bergquist of Norwell, Mass., when they were just 12 and 13 years old, thinking how they could help the troops.

The non-profit organization takes in gently used cell phones, sells them to a recycler and purchases pre-paid calling cards which are sent to troops overseas.

Since starting up eight years ago, more than 10.5 million phones have been donated, allowing Cell Phones for Soldiers to buy 2.3 million prepaid calling cards with 168 million minutes loaded on those cards for service men and women to use to call home.

During a spring 2012 collection, nearly 1,500 cell phones were collected at the state agencies and departments, which amounted to over 3,600 hours of free phone time for troops.

Cell Phones for Soldiers take in phones from everyone, so if you want to contribute, go here for more information.

Brittany Bergquist

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