Phone cards are popular items and many consumers make use of them around the world. The majority of international calling cards are bought and sold commercially. However, some such products are handed over on a charitable basis.
One duo whose charity specialises in such giveaways are siblings Brittany and Robbie Bergquist. At the young ages of 12 and 13 years, they started a charity that has now grown into a major organisation, the Boston Globe reports.
Called Cell Phones for Soldiers, it provides courtesy phone cards to US soldiers to help them remain in touch with their loved ones while they are away completing missions abroad. Recently the pair were handed a Jefferson Award for public service.
Seven years since it was started, the charity has grown considerably and it now draws in more than $2 million (£1.24 million) per year in donations. To help operations run smoothly, the brother and sister are aided by their parents and older sister.
Commenting on their achievements, Brittany said: “The success of the programme still seems surreal to me at times.” Meanwhile, her brother remarked: “We have the perfect family to start a program like this – the most supportive parents.”
“As teenagers, we’d sometimes get upset trying to manage it all. But it seems like every time we’d get down, we’d get an email from a soldier saying how we brought them a little bit of home in a time of war. My parents helped us stick to it. We couldn’t see what the future had planned, but they did.”
The idea for providing international calling cards came to the pair when they heard of a soldier who had racked up a mobile phone bill of $8,000 while away on service. At this point, the siblings decided that troops deserved to be able to call home for free.