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Brides for a Cause

Brides for a Cause

If you have ever gone shopping for a wedding dress, you know that it is a very expensive purchase for just wearing one day.  Many preserve their dress while others “trash” their dress.  Another option is to donate your dress and today’s organization gives you that opportunity.

In July 2012, Brides for a Cause partnered with the Wish Upon a Wedding organization.  In October of 2012, they opened a retail storefront to sell dresses to benefit the Wish Upon a Wedding organization.  In less than a year, they have collected over 1,000 wedding dresses from all across the country with more arriving each week.

Brides for a Cause is a charitable wedding dress organization that resells donated wedding dresses to support charity.  Half of their proceeds go directly to Wish Upon a Wedding to help them fulfill their mission of granting weddings and vow renewals to couples facing terminal illness and other serious life threatening circumstances.  All the dresses sold by Brides for a Cause have been donated by individuals and bridal stores around the country who are interested in helping those in need have their dream wedding.  Their bridal store is in Portland, Oregon, but they also take their inventory on the road to offer local brides an opportunity to find a great dress at a great price while helping a great cause.

Erin Scharf, founder and owner of Brides for a Cause, told me that many of their dresses are new and they are discounted up to 75% off.  They want to help brides who visit their store or their road shows to find their dream dress within their budget.  She also wanted to thank all the donors and brides who have support them.  “We can’t exist without their support.”  She encourages past brides with a dress sitting in their closet to donate it for a good cause and to allow another bride to wear it.

How can you help?

  • You can donate your dress if it is from 2005 or more recent.  You can either mail or drop off your dress.  Read the details of dress donation on their website.
  • Visit their store or one of their traveling events to shop for and purchase your own wedding gown.  Visit their website to find a list of upcoming road shows or sign up to be notified of a road show near you.
  • Volunteer to work at an upcoming road show.  Local volunteers are needed to help with these dress sales.  You can visit their website to sign up as a volunteer.

You can learn more about Brides for a Cause on their website, www.bridesforacause.com.  You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, or via e-mail.

Related posts: Wish Upon a Wedding and Cinderella Project.

 

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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Second Chance Toys

Second Chance Toys

Many organizations serve one mission.  Today’s organization found a way to do two good things with one organization. 

Sasha Lipton - Second Chance Toys Founder

Sasha Lipton – Second Chance Toys Founder

Sasha Lipton started serving her community at a young age.  She spent time with her father delivering food to homebound seniors for Meals on Wheels.  She also worked at soup kitchens and sponsored a child from the Dominican Republic through Children International.  During the summer of 2006, Sasha volunteered as a counselor at Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.  It was during that summer that the idea behind Second Chance Toys was born.  She spent time driving around neighboring towns with her mom and noticed many toys being disposed of at the curb.  Most of the toys appeared as good as new and Sasha thought about how wasteful it was to discard of these toys and that many children would love to have them.

Second Chance Toys is now a 501c3 nonprofit corporation with a mission to rescue and recycle plastic toys for children in need by donating them to community organizations.  The second part of the mission is to keep the non-biodegradable plastic toys out of landfills.  These toys are reused by giving them to children in need.  The toys can enhance the development of these children by promoting socialization, creativity, emotional security, motor skills, and learning. 

Second Chance Toys is headquartered in New Jersey, but they work in communities all over the United States and Australia.  As of spring of 2012, the organization reached the milestone of 112,949 toys donated.

Why are toys so important?  Play is the “work” of young children.  Babies use toys to develop their motor skills and learn how to control their bodies.  Toys provide motivation for them to learn to reach, grasp, roll, sit, crawl, stand, and walk.  Toddlers learn concepts of weight, shape, color and size through play.  According to research from the National Institute for Early Education, without sufficient toys, children do not develop necessary motor skills.  Studies also show that infant toys are critical for brain growth that affects learning later in life.  As children grow, toys provide opportunities for laughter, fun, and inquisitive exploration of the world. These are critical opportunities for the healthy emotional, intellectual, and physical development of children.

About 32 million children in the United States are from low-income families, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty.   The toys donated through Second Chance Toys make a world of difference in the life of a these children and help keep non-biodegradable plastics out of our landfills.

Below are some opportunities to help Second Chance Toys put smiles on the faces of some very deserving children in your own community:

  • Donate your plastic toys to get them to kids who need them.  You can search for the nearest drop off location on their website
  • Volunteer to collect gently used plastic toys in your community during the Spring collection in April and the Holiday collection in November/December.  You can register your collection and find their collection starter kit here.
  • You can also make a monetary donation via their website.
  • There are a variety of opportunities to volunteer your time.  You can sign-up as a volunteer on their website.
  • If your company is interested in becoming a corporate sponsor for Second Chance Toys, please take a look at their sponsor page.
  • You can show your support with a variety of Second Chance Toys merchandise available on their website.
  • If you are a blogger, consider sharing the mission of Second Chance Toys.  Learn more here.
  • You can also share this post and/or the video below to spread the story about the opportunity to donate toys.

Check out their website at www.secondchancetoys.org to get involved.  You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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Loved Twice

Loved Twice

Kids grow fast!  Babies grow even faster.  In the first year of a baby’s life, they go through so many clothes that they sometimes barely wear an outfit before it no longer fits.  I was lucky to have several hand-me-downs to keep up with the many new sizes they needed.  Once my kids outgrew their clothes, I made sure they went to good homes.  Some went to friends with younger kids, others went to a charity garage sale, and a lot of baby clothes went to the local chapter of today’s organization.

Loved Twice started in 2005 when Lisa Klein responded to an online community appeal for donations of baby clothing after Hurricane Katrina.  Lisa had just had her first child and was deeply moved to contribute.  She rallied together with other San Francisco Bay Area mothers to collect 200 pounds of clothing for babies in Louisiana in just four days!  While she was mailing the collected onesies, swaddling blankets, and other donated newborn clothing, she realized that this simple process of recycling gently used baby clothing could be spread nationwide to help provide for infants in need. 

The mission of Loved Twice is to clothe America’s Newborns-in-need with quality recycled baby clothing for the first year of life.  They are based in the San Francisco Bay Area, but they have “mail to” locations across the Unites States to help spread their donations. 

Since their founding, they have grown into an effective organization embraced by the communities they serve.  According to a 2010 report by the Children’s Defense Fund, 2,962 babies are born into poverty each day in the United States.  Since 2005, Loved Twice has clothed 5,759 newborns with over 430,000 garments at an estimated retail value of almost $1.3 million.  Loved Twice is making a difference to those babies by providing them with clothing.  At the same time, they are reducing waste by encouraging people to reuse and recycle baby clothing and supplies.  They have kept over 57,000 pounds of clothing out of landfills.  You can watch the video below watch them in action:


Loved Twice collects and distributes baby clothes in sizes up to 12 months.  Blankets, hats, socks, bibs and board books are welcome too.  However clothing for older children as well as other baby supplies are not collected.  The clothing is distributed through social service agencies to ensure it gets to those who need it most. 

How can you help?

  • Tax deductible donations are accepted via their website to help clothe more babies.
  • Their website provides all the details for running a baby clothing drive to help newborns-in-need in your local community. 
  • You can also mail clothes to one of the Loved Twice partners throughout the United States.  You can find an updated list on their website.
  • In addition, you can join other supporters of Loved Twice by signing up to be a campaigner in the Grand Baby Campaign where volunteers each raise $1000.  The organization provides the support with over 100 fundraising ideas and the materials you need to be successful. 

You can learn more about Loved Twice on their website, www.lovedtwice.org.  You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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Balls Go Round

Each year over 300 million tennis balls are made each year.  The US Open alone goes through 70,000 tennis balls each year!  After a while the balls lose their bounce and are no longer usable for the sport.  I am sure some can come up with creative ways to reuse the old balls, but you can only go so far.  Today’s organization is helping those balls get new life!

Balls Go Round is an organization dedicated to collecting, recycling and reusing recreational balls in order to help needy organizations and youth programs throughout the United States.  The organization was founded in 2007 by brother-sister team Jeffrey and Karly Krasnow. 

The idea for this organization came to them while competing in United States Tennis Association (USTA) matches in New York City.  With each match, they were required to throw away the used balls and open a new can of balls.  This would happen at hundreds (or even thousands) of USTA matches across the country.  They knew this was also happening at country clubs and tennis centers. 

Balls Go Round collects the used balls and redistributes them to other organizations such as animal shelters, occupational therapy centers, and youth programs where the balls are reused as animal toys, hand therapy tools, and of course to play tennis.  Since their founding, they have been able to get 100,000 balls collected and redistributed.

In addition, Balls Go Round has been able to recharge over 3,000 balls via reBounces to extend their life even longer.

How can you help?

If you live near their Vero Beach, Florida headquarters, you can offer to assist with labeling recycled balls with the Balls Go Round logo for various, managing their database and helping pickup and recycle donated balls. 

For others, Balls Go Round can help you contact country clubs and other places throwing away dead tennis balls and help link you with organizations that may be a great beneficiary of the balls.  Local youth programs, nursing homes, and animal shelters are just a few examples. 

You can learn more about Balls Go Round on their website, www.ballsgoround.org.  You can also connect with them via e-mail, ballsgoround@aol.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Related Post: Kids Are Heroes also recently wrote about the founders of Balls Go Round

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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Global Soap Project

You may have heard of organizations such as homeless or women’s shelters that collect the small unused toiletries from hotels to give to their clients.  Today’s organization takes that collection one step further by collecting used soap from hotels.

The mission of the Global Soap Project is to work with their hotel partners to divert used soap from going to the landfill and instead be reprocessed and reused by vulnerable populations around the world.  Their ultimate goal is to impact global health by promoting sanitation and hygiene.

The Global Soap Project is based in Atlanta, Georgia, but soaps are collected from participating hotels across the United States and Canada. 

In a CNN interview last year, Global Soap Project Founder Derreck Kayongo, a native of Uganda, spoke about his first hotel stay in the United States in the early 1990s.  He was surprised to see the soap replaced each day even though it was barely used.  That sparked an idea to recycle the discarded soaps into new bars for those who could not afford it.  At 25 cents a bar, soap is not a priority for those making just one dollar a day.  In 2009, Derreck was able to bring his soap recycling idea to life.  Derreck and his wife Sarah started experimenting with soap making techniques in their basement.  The organization has since grown to fill a warehouse. 

Housekeeping departments of participating hotels collect the soap and the hotels ship it to the Global Soap Project warehouse.  Volunteers clean the soap, process it into new bars, and package it for shipping.  They also verify the safety of random samples of their reprocessed soap on a regular basis using an outside lab.

The soap is shipped to vulnerable populations including orphans, refugees, and disaster victims.  Most organizations receiving soap contact the Global Soap Project and are screened and vetted as appropriate recipients.  As of February 2012, the organization has distributed over 250,000 bars to 21 countries.  In March 2012, they shipped their first container load of soap to Haiti.

How can you help?

  • If you live near Norcross, Georgia, you can volunteer to clean and re-make soap.  You can find the details of this opportunity on their website.
  • You can share the project details with a hotel that is not already participating in the project.  You can find a brochure for hotels here.
  • Monetary donations can also be made to the Global Soap Project.  You can donate online or by mail.  Learn more on their website.
  • You can also spread the word about this project by sharing this blog post using the sharing options at the end of the post.

You can learn more about the Global Soap Project on their website, www.globalsoap.org.  You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, or via e-mail.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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Trips for Kids

 

November 13-19, 2011 is Geography Awareness Week and the National Geographic Society is hosting its third annual Blog-A-Thon.  This year’s theme is “Geography: The Adventure in Your Community.”  It is about connections between people and their surrounding environments, local action, and, of course, geography education.

Today I will profile an organization that gives kids an opportunity to explore their local geography on a bike.  The Trips for Kids™ youth biking program is a non-profit, volunteer organization that provides mountain biking outings and environmental education for kids who would not otherwise be exposed to these types of activities.  Their goal is to combine lessons in personal responsibility, achievement, and environmental awareness through the development of practical skills and simply having fun.   

The vision for the organization was conceived in 1986 while Marilyn Price was pedaling up Mount Tamalpais outside of San Francisco, California.  During her ride, Marilyn was remembering the kids she saw during her frequent volunteering at St. Anthony’s Dining Room in the heart of the inner city.    Most of those kids had never seen their city from the high up perspective of Mount Tamalpais, instead spending their days surrounded by cement and exposure to drugs, violence and gang involvement.  She thought it would be great if these kids had a chance to challenge themselves physically.  The idea for Trips for Kids combined her lifelong love of bicycling, an earlier desire to be a social worker, and her interest in environmental issues. 

The program functioned as a pilot program for two years until becoming incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1988.  The program continued to grow in the San Francisco area to provide a bicycle thrift shop called The Re-Cyclery and an Earn-A-Bike program that provides a safe environment for kids to learn skills and work toward earning their own bike and accessories.  In 1999, the program started supporting the creation of additional chapters.  The Trips for Kids national headquarters remains in San Rafael, California. They have also grown to have 76 chapters throughout the United States and Canada, in addition to one chapter in Israel.   Each chapter is financially independent, but the national organization provides startup support and information sharing opportunities.  The program is flexible which has resulted in a diverse set of chapters.  Some have started earn-a-bike or bike mechanic programs for the youth they serve and a few have started a bike thrift shop to help pay for their expenses.

To date, more that 79,500 vulnerable, at-risk children have experienced a life-changing day mountain biking; an experience they would not have had without Trips for Kids.

So, how can you help?

Most of the Trips for Kids chapters would love to have volunteers to help them on the mountain bike rides with the kids they serve.  Other volunteer opportunities would include office help, volunteering at events, serving on a chapter board, helping run earn-a-bike programs, and more.  You can contact the chapter nearest you to find an opportunity for them.

You can also make a monetary donation to the national program to assist with program costs. 

You can learn more about Trips for Kids on their website, www.tripsforkids.org.  You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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WITS

It seems like some people get new computers, smart phones, or other electronics as soon as the technology changes – which is quite frequently these days.  Today’s organization is on a mission to keep those electronics out of the landfills and get them to those in need.

WITS was started in St Louis, Missouri in 2002 as Web Innovations & Technology Services.  At the time, Angela Haas was a college student and saw that many students needed computers in their home to get their work done.  She worked with student groups at a variety of colleges in St Louis to create WITS, Inc.  Initially, the main goal was to get computers and internet access to low income students and families.  Later a recycling program was added because so many materials were collected and the organization did not want anything to go into the trash.  In 2004, the first ever St. Louis Earth Day electronics collection event was held.  People brought everything from computers and monitors to televisions and lamps.  The group didn’t turn people away so they now run the largest donated computer and electronics reuse stores in Missouri. 

Their mission is to keep electronics out of the landfill by putting them back into the community and appropriately recycling those that cannot be reused.  WITS has locations in St. Louis, Missouri; Danville, Illinois; Benton Harbour, Michigan and Farview Heights, Illinois.  They will soon be adding a South Bend, Indiana location as well.

The organization diverts more than six million pounds of electronics from the landfill each year.  They offer programs that no other organization in the United States offers and are 100% sustainable with their programs.  In addition, they do not depend on grants or corporate sponsors for their funding.  They currently have 20 permanent drop-off sites for residents and businesses to bring electronics free of charge as well as other opportunities such as events and scheduled pickups. 

The computers they refurbish are offered back to the community through several programs including seniors, youth, and a Volunteer-For-Free-Computer program.  In addition, they donate computers and electronics to needy families in the United States, such as hurricane, flood or disaster victims.

Current volunteer opportunities include computer repair, software installation, phone calls to inform clients of our programs, and assistance with reaching more businesses.  In addition, they will be needing assistance for their Computers for Christmas program, where they hope to donate 500 computers to needy families.  Monetary donations are also accepted on their website

You can learn more about WITS at their website, www.witsinc.org.  You can also follow them on Facebook Facebook and Twitter.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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Metro St. Louis Cinderella Project

It is prom season!  It is the time to shop for a fancy dress to wear for one night and then hang in your closet until it doesn’t fit anymore.  At least that is for the girls from families that can afford it.  Other girls turn down requests to go to prom because they know their family cannot afford it.  There are organizations around the county holding prom dress drives to help those girls who can’t afford a new dress.  One of those organizations is the Metro St. Louis Cinderella Project. 

The Metro St. Louis Cinderella Project is an event sponsored by the Community Council of St. Charles County.  This project began in 2009 when the Community Council put together a prom dress drive and was able to collect over 1000 dresses.  They made the dresses available to area high school girls who are referred to the project by their high school councilors.  The event was such a success that it became an annual event in 2010. 

In 2010, the event joined the DonateMyDress.org network of local dress drives across the United States. That year the Metro St. Louis Cinderella Project along with 13 other dress projects around the nation earned the Purple Dress Award from DonateMyDress.org.  

The project promotes confidence and self esteem in junior and senior high school women by providing the gift of a prom dress to young women in the metropolitan area who are unable to acquire one on their own.  The project continues to expand.  In 2011 over 40 high schools in the St Louis metro area were invited to refer girls to receive a dress.

You can read moving stories from girls around the country who have received dresses from various collections at DonateMyDress.org

If you live in the St Louis metro area, there are many ways you can help!

  • The collection for 2011 has ended, but watch for details on a 2012 collection on their website.
  • The project is always looking for personal shoppers to help each girl find the perfect dress! 
  • Alterations are also needed for some girls, so if you have seamstress skills and are able to assist with fittings and alterations, please volunteer.
  • The project is also in need of donations of sewing machines and notions to help make each dress special.
  • Hairdressers and makeup artists are also needed to donate their time on prom day to assist with makeovers!
  • The project also partners with other local groups and organizations to host dress drives and fundraisers.

If you live outside of the St Louis metro area, visit DonateMyDress.org to find a collection site for a project in your area.  If you can’t find one close to you, make a huge difference for girls by hosting a drive!  DonateMyDress.org provides you with a free guidebook to walk you through the process!

You can learn more about the St Louis Cinderella Project on their website, CinderellaSTL.org.  You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.  You can learn more about DonateMyDress.org on their website or following them on Twitter.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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Kid Flicks

When kids are in the hospital fighting against Cancer , what is the first thing they might ask for?  A toy?  Ice cream?  Video games? Computers?   Not according to one Child Life Specialist.  “Movies are the first things kids ask for when they are in the hospital,” she says.  Enter four sisters:  Berni, Romi, Lexi , and Marni Barta.  Motivated by this premise, they founded Kid Flicks – a non-profit charitable organization devoted to stocking the shelves of children’s hospitals everywhere with movies.

While conducting spring cleaning in 2002, the Barta sisters found several used DVDs that they no longer watched.   Thinking of a mutual friend that was being treated for Leukemia at the Pediatric Oncology Department of the Los Angeles hospital, the sisters decided to take action.  They knew that their friend liked to watch movies to pass the time while she was in the hospital and decided to donate those used movies to her hospital.   But they didn’t just stop there, that afternoon they began the first steps towards creating Kid Flicks.  They wrote solicitation letters to family and friends requesting DVD donations.   Within the first week they had gathered over 100 movies, and their efforts gained steam from there.

Thanks, in no small part, to the massive amount of donations that continued to cycle in, the Barta sisters decided to donate a movie library consisting of 100 assorted films to as many hospitals as they could.  After contacting movie studios, and production companies, organizing drives at their schools, working with local pediatricians to advertise their organization, news began to spread.   Their positive efforts became contagious and other people began organizing their own drives to raise new and used DVD collections at religious schools, through Brownie Troops organizations, and promotions by radio and television interviews.

Today, people from across the nation send dozens of DVDs to the girls, and their outreach has included stocking DVD libraries to every hospital within a five-hour driving radius around Los Angeles.  Presently, Kid Flicks is donating movies across the United States and has expanded into South Africa.   As of February 11, 2011 Kid Flicks has donated 57,000 movies to 570 different hospitals.   But shipping these movies isn’t free. Not to be deterred, these four innovative and high achieving sisters began applying for grants and awards to help pay costs to ship the libraries.

While their journey has taken them international, along the way they have won numerous awards, including:

  • The Gladys Marinelli Coccia Award at the National Service-Learning Conference in San Jose.  This award was founded in memory of Gladys Coccia, who began her entrepreneurial career as a young girl in West Virginia and went on to become a successful businesswoman and community leader in Washington, D.C. Berni was one of two girls to win this award and was granted a $2,000 donation for Kid Flicks.
  • Huggable Heroes:  Marni was named a 2008 Build-A-Bear Workshop® Huggable Heroes® finalist. She was one of 31 young people from around the world being honored by Build-A-Bear Workshop® for demonstrating strong leadership, dedication and compassion to make positive strides in the world.
  • Most notably, On January 29, 2008 Marni and Berni Barta received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from President George W. Bush when he visited Los Angeles. After he presented the Kid Flicks founders with the award, the girls were given a private tour of Air Force One.

Their goal — which may have once seemed like shooting for the stars, is well on its way to becoming a reality – to, “provide every children’s hospital and pediatric department in the county with a Kid Flicks ‘movie library’.”  You can help them in their cause by visiting www.kidflicks.org  or on Facebook.   On their website you can see their list of recipients and impressive list of donors.

If you know a little boy or girl recovering from a serious or potentially life threatening illness in a children’s hospital, give them all the warmth and love you can, maybe a bowl of ice cream, and their favorite teddy bear, and don’t forget to pop a movie in the DVD player.  Maybe you can pull that movie from a Kid Flicks DVD library, and maybe, you can send the Barta sisters some of your used DVDs to support their cause.   Every child deserves the right to be a kid, and no child needs the diversion of an upbeat and comical movie or cartoon, than a child struggling with a serious illness.

This post was written by Brent Pearson….Blogunteer supporter and husband.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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Hope Phones

500,000 mobile phones are discarded per day in the United States!  Instead of filling up landfills or taking up space in your junk drawer, you can send it in – for free – to support today’s organization, Hope Phones.  

The mission of the Hope Phones campaign is to support mobile health projects around the world, helping create connected, coordinated health systems that save more lives while reducing e-waste caused by improperly discarded phones.

Hope Phones was created by Medic Moblie (formerly FrontlineSMS:Medic), a nonprofit organization that develops and implements open-source mobile health tools.  After hearing how many mobile phones were being discarded each day, Medic Moble partnered with a recycling company to give those phones a new life on the frontline of global health.  Any cell phone can be recycled, whether they work or not! 

To really understand the project, watch a five minute video presentation by Josh Nesbit, co-founder of Medic Mobile.

How can you help?
• First, dig those old cell phones out of your junk drawer or your kid’s toy bin and send them in.  You can even print a free shipping label at HopePhones.org.  It couldn’t be easier!  If you wish, you can also delete your data from your phone prior to donating by following this link.
• Groups can also sponsor larger phone collection campaigns.  Request collection materials at HopePhones.org
• Spread the word!  If just one percent of the cell phones discarded in the United States in one year were recycled via Hope Phones, they could provide cell phones to one million community health care workers.  Tweet this post or suggest the Facebook page to your friends!

Old phones are worth $20 on average, and smart phones are worth $60-80; one old donated Blackberry provides funds to equip six community health workers with new mobile phones, improving medical care for 300 families.

Learn more about Hope Phones at their website HopePhones.org.  You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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