UTICA, NY (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) — With Veterans’ Day fast approaching, Senator Joe Griffo is looking to bring soldiers a bit of joy with the announcement of their annual cell phone drive on Thursday, November 9.

Along with the Central New York Veteran’s Outreach Center, Senator Griffo kicked off his annual Cell Phones For Soldiers campaign. All proceeds from the recycled devices will be used to buy long-distance calling cards and other communication services for soldiers at home and on deployment all over the world.

This is the eighth year of the drive, and residents throughout the area have donated almost 6,500 devices and have provided soldiers with almost 600,000 minutes of free calls.

“The upcoming holidays are an especially hard time for our soldiers overseas to be so far away from their families, and the simple sound of a loved one’s voice can go a long way to lift up their spirits,” Senator Griffo said in a statement. “These brave men and women have stepped up to serve our nation. I am proud to once again team up with the Central New York Veterans Outreach Center and Cell Phones for Soldiers to help connect these troops to their families back home.” 

You can donate your gently used and unwanted cell phones and tablets at the following locations:


  • Adirondack Bank Center
  • Utica Public Library on Genesee Street
  • Chanatry’s Hometown Market on French Road
  • Utica State Office Building on Genesee Street
  • 50 Forward Mohawk Valley at the Parkway Center on Memorial Parkway
  • Central New York Veteran’s Outreach Center on Genesee Street

Other Locations

  • Jervis Public Library, North Washington Street, Rome
  • Bridgewater Municipal Building
  • New Hartford Public Library
  • Oneida Public Library
  • Cazenovia Public Library
  • Hamilton Public Library
  • West Winfield Public Library
  • Sherburne Public Library
  • New York Pizzeria, South Main Street, New Berlin

For every device donated valued at five dollars, Cell Phones for Soldiers is able to provide two and a half hours of free talk time to deployed troops via those calling cards.

“I thank Sen. Griffo for once again spearheading this important and worthy cause, Vincent Scalise, Central New York Veterans Outreach Center executive director, said in a statement. “This annual collection drive has helped many men and women serving in our military connect with their families and loved ones during the holidays and throughout the year. It is my hope that the community again steps up to help our troops.” 

The collection drive begins on Thursday, November 9 and runs through Saturday, December 9. The Veterans’ Center asks donators to make sure all information from donated phones has been erased before donation.

“We are so grateful to Sen. Griffo and his constituents for their ongoing support of our mission to connect America’s bravest,” Rob Bergquist, founder and president of Cell Phones For Soldiers, said in a statement. “We now have the capacity to put donated mobile devices—collected through events like Sen. Griffo’s drive—in the hands of low-income and at-risk veterans. These devices will be lifelines to help veterans in need connect with critical resources.”