AYER -- More than 150,000 troops are serving overseas and are away from and out-of-touch with their families. Cell Phones for Soldiers and Ayer Moving & Storage are calling on residents of Ayer and surrounding communities to support the brave men and women of our armed forces by donating used cellphones to help keep the troops connected to their families.

Local residents can support this effort by donating their used cellphones and accessories at Ayer Moving & Storage, 109 Central Ave. A collection box will be onsite inside the main entrance.

"We're proud to show our support for U.S. soldiers and to contribute to a worthy cause like Cell Phones for Soldiers," said Karen Strickland, president of Ayer Moving & Storage.

Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded by teenagers Robbie and Brittany Bergquist of Norwell with $21 of their own money. Since then, the registered 501c(3) nonprofit organization has raised millions of dollars in donations and has distributed millions of prepaid calling cards to soldiers serving overseas.

The donated phones are sent to ReCellular, which pays Cell Phones for Soldiers for each phone. The money is used to purchase prepaid calling cards, which are sent to troops. Approximately half of the phones ReCellular processes are reconditioned and resold to wholesale companies in over 40 countries around the world. Phones and components that cannot be refurbished are dismantled and recycled to reclaim materials, including, gold, silver and platinum from circuit boards; copper writing from phone chargers; nickel, iron, cadmium and lead from battery packs; and plastic from phone cases and accessories.

Ayer Moving & Storage is collecting and shipping used cellphones and accessories and will continue to have a collection box at their location in Ayer through the year. "We are amazed at how this magnificent effort started with a simple idea from two smart teenagers!" said Strickland. "Americans will replace an estimated 150 million cellphones this year alone -- we at Ayer Moving & Storage want to play our part to help Cell Phones for Soldiers reach their goal of collecting over 50,000 cellphones each month through collection sites all over the country."