Consider using an old cell phone to help someone else

When trading up, nonprofits can find a use for your old cell phone.

5G phones 1
Several different iPhone sizes are pictured. People can donate old cell phones to Family Service Rochester or the Cell Phones For Soldiers program in Stewartville.
Sarah Tew/CNET/TNS
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Answer Man, 

Is there any local organization that accepts working cell phones that are no longer need when someone gets a new phone?

— Getting an upgrade

Dear Upgraded,

As long as you are not one of those frugal Minnesotans who is finally parting with an old 3G phone, Family Service Rochester would be happy to take your old phone off your hands.


Family Service Rochester accepts 4G, 5G and LTE-compatible phones, along with chargers, to help adults and children who have experienced domestic violence.

Kelly Kjarland, who supervises FSR’s domestic violence response team, told the Post Bulletin last year that, "Dialing 9-1-1 can be a life-saving call, and 9-1-1 still works on that old phone."

Before donating an old phone to Family Service Rochester, it should be cleared of personal data. On a smartphone, the easiest way to clear all personal data is to restore the phone to factory settings.

The phone and its corresponding charger can then be brought to either FSR location at 4600 18th Ave. NW or 1625 Highway 14 E.

Another option is the Cell Phones For Soldiers program, which has a drop-off location at American Legion Post 164 in Stewartville.

The nationwide nonprofit accepts all phones, which are wiped of personal information and refurbished for sale or responsibly recycled. All proceeds from sales and recycling are used to purchase international calling cards for troops to call home and to provide emergency funding to veterans.

Phones can be dropped off at the post, 1100 Second Ave. NW, which opens at 1 p.m. on weekdays and noon on Saturdays and Sundays.

Either program helps keep the old phones out of the waste stream – or worse yet, your junk drawer – while helping someone else.


It seems like a donation is definitely a good call.

Send questions to Answer Man at .

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