Saturday, August 11, 2007

Kimonos 2 Cellphones 2 Lonely Soldier Support


How a kind compliment on a blog post regarding kimonos, eventually led to doing a small thing to help lonely soldiers reach out to their loved ones.

The Compliment

Some time ago I wrote a post on the fabulous website Japan Now & Then which, among other things discussing my appreciation for abuerginefluer's fine eye for Japanese culture and clothing (particularly kimonos). Lavie and I absolutely love reading her posts and spend much time following and studying the links she provides.

Abuerginefluer graciously responded in kind recently: I Just Love Being Complimented: 3-Q Grand Stream Dreams.

So Lavie was reading it and asked me, "What does 3-Q mean?"

Well, I wasn't sure either, 3rd Quarter?

No, actually it means "thank you."  Seems that in Mandarin/Japanese "three" is pronounced "san" so it becomes "san"-Q which sounds like "thank you."

See how the web contributes to global learning?

To Text Messaging

That shorthand reminded me I had been meaning to do some digging for text-messaging shorthand.

After I washed Alvis's cell phone, I got her a new one, and we ended up signing up for an unlimited text-messaging plan.

That turned out to be a Good Thing™ as last month's cell phone bill showed Alvis made and received a total of 818 text messages.  I'm sure she is just warming up.  Mine was a paltry 173 and Lavie had way under 100.

I don't get cell phone coverage in my cubicle, but I can send text to Alvis via email and will do so during the day.  I've even gotten pretty good about fingering in text on the cell phone itself and generally do better with it than my miniature BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard. Go figure.

So I dug up these links:

As well as this interesting BBC News article back from 2003 which pondered the demise of the English language due to text shorthand: BBC NEWS | UK | Is txt mightier than the word?

To Used Cell Phones

Having completed that task, I then pondered how many cell-phones we had scattered around the house.  Lavie, Alvis, and I all have a cell phone.  I've always held on to the older ones "just in case."

My current Nokia phone is working great, but now pales in comparison to Lavie and Alvis's Samsung Sync I am considering doing an upgrade soon and giving this one to my mother-in-law as Pop has one just like it already and could use the data-cable I bought after an act of congress trying to find it.

I'd seen a few of them recently when I went on a closet-cleaning binge...but they survived the purge.

After I got done collecting them all up, Turns out we had six older cell phones we were no longer using.

I didn't want to toss them in the trash...that seemed wasteful as well as probably illegal due to the batteries and metal content.

I had heard that some groups accepted them as donations and provided them to victims of domestic violence so they could place 911 calls from them...but didn't know where to begin or if I would have to mail them off to get them there.

To the Webs!

It didn't take me very long to find this website: - Cell Phone Donations & Recycle Phones and Help Charities

Enter your Zip Code and out spills a list of local centers that will accept  your used cell phones for a good cause.  Depending on your area, there may be several causes to choose from.

From the website:

Answer the call...donate a cell phone today!

Search our database of over 40,000 drop off centers for a location near you!

Help our environment and the planet. Help a charity and a person in need. And you don't have to do anything except find the old cell phones collecting dust in a drawer or closet at your home. Simply turn them in, and get a tax deduction!

From this website, you can:

    * Recycle your used cell phones at a local donation center.
    * Start a local cell phone collection to support a national charity.
    * Start a local collection program as a fundraiser for your favorite charity.

Cell phone donations and recycling offer a tremendous fundraising and environmental opportunity for your organization. Hundreds of millions of used cell phones are taken out of service each year around the world as new innovations reach the marketplace.

Donate a cell phone today!

A quick check found several locations in under five miles from our home.

One looked promising.

To Help a Soldier

Regardless of your feelings on current troop deployment strategies, Lavie and I feel it is important to support those who are in military service for our country.  It is patriotic and kind to do.  Many of the enlisted troops work in hazardous conditions with low pay and long periods of separation from loved ones.

A little bit of kindness and compassion goes a long way.

So when we saw the charity Cell Phones for Soldiers! listed locally, we decided that was what we wanted to do with the used bricks of plastic and metal that had been collecting dust.

Their goal is to help our soldiers serving overseas call home. They hope to provide as many soldiers as possible with prepaid calling cards for now with an ultimate goal of providing banks of satellite phones, video phones and VOIP communications. Through generous donations and the recycling of used cell phones from drop-off sites across the country, they have already distributed thousands of calling cards to soldiers in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

In the end, those six phone will probably provide just a humble six hours of talk-time with calling-cards to some unknown soldiers in the field.

Not much or very glamorous, but not only does it clean my closet out and keep them from going into our landfills (at least this go round), they may also add a few minutes of cheer and joy and good news between two people who really need to hear each other's voices. Sounds like a good trade in my book.

We dropped off the phones and I briefly flirted with a phone upgrade, but decided to wait for next month when incentives would drop the price much more than its current offering.

So that's how to get from kimonos to calling cards for lonely soldiers.

Who knew it would be that easy?

What do you do with your used cell-phones?  Might I suggest making a difference?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hey, nice blog!