Girl Scouts will collect cell phones to raise funds

HOWELL — For years, the Girl Scouts have been associated with cookie sales when it comes to fund-raisers. Soon, you can add cell phone donations to that category.

American Cellular Donation Organ-ization (ACDO), a nonprofit organization based in Michigan, has announced that the Monmouth Council of Girl Scouts will launch a used cell phone collection drive in January that will run indefinitely. During the campaign, used, idle cell phones will be asked for, thus freeing them from closets, desks and dressers and enabling them to be exchanged for a cash donation.

Nonworking cell phones that are collected will be recycled according to all federal Environmental Protection Agency guidelines so they do not end up in landfills, where their toxins could harm the environment, according to a press release from the Girl Scouts.

“The Monmouth Council of Girl Scouts should be applauded for choosing a fund-raising effort that is not only easy and free for them, but is also environmentally sound,” ACDO founder and CEO Vincent Serio said.

Serio said there are currently more than 500 million idle cell phones in the United States and, he added, that number grows by nearly 80 million every year, creating an abundance of product that can be donated and turned into charitable cash. A typical cell phone user frequently updates his or her cellular phones due to new technology such as video messaging and camera phones, Serio added.

“We are very happy to welcome more Girl Scouts into the fold, because there is such an untapped resource right now, and with the Girl Scouts’ history of fund-raising and ‘can do’ spirit, this combination makes perfect sense,” Serio said.

He noted that ACDO recently signed up Girl Scout councils in Michigan, Illinois and North Dakota, who will engage in similar efforts.

Nancy Cummons, Director of Fund Development for the Monmouth Council of Girl Scouts, said the cell phone collection campaign would involve about 12,000 Girl Scouts and 5,000 volunteers in western Monmouth and northern Ocean counties.

ACDO turns the donated cell phones into cash through their sale to third world countries, small retailers and others who need mobile communication but would not otherwise be able to afford it.

People interested in donating their used cell phones to the Monmouth Council of Girl Scouts may call (732) 938-5454.

Individual donors looking to donate cell phones to no particular cause may visit the Web site for the dropoff location nearest to them. For more information about ACDO, including how an organization can raise funds through cell phone donations, call toll free at (888) 863-2355 or visit the Web site