With many people in the military serving out of the US and overseas, any chance they get to have a little face or voice time with home can be precious and extremely welcome. Of course, these days, it’s not as much of a challenge to find a way to communicate with home—it’s finding a solid opportunity to make one of those calls.
One of the problems with those calls, however, can be the cost. Because of that, it’s not uncommon to see phone cards listed among the items troops need. In fact, at one point, there was such a surplus of cards being sent, many would expire before they even had a chance to be used. That was at the height of the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan.
These days, phone cards are still a hot commodity. Arguably, thanks to VoIP services, such as Skype, they’re not in such high demand but they’re appreciated—and used—nevertheless. So, if you’re considering picking up a few phone cards for donation to military service members, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Though the US Military has a contract with AT&T, that does not mean AT&T phone cards are either required or necessary when choosing a phone card. Any number of cards will work, and often other cards will be more competitively priced.
- There are many cards to choose from and there can be a trade-off between doing a little research and buying a “brand name” phone card. By doing research and finding a solid card, you can save money (more so if you choose to buy several), but searching and reading reviews can be a chore. A good place to start is AboutCallingCards.com and Amazon.com (searching calling cards or phone cards). Both sites offer extensive tips and insight and Amazon features an array of reviews and reactions from users (most of who might actually be real!).
- Find a reputable place to donate the cards. Many websites feature an ability to donate phone cards but in reality they are a front for a phone card provider and don’t offer users to be able to submit cards that they independently purchased. So, if you decide to purchase phone cards from a source such as Amazon, you’ll also need to track down a place to send them. Often a local drive collecting various items for troops (or similar event) will be able to take care of it for you. If there isn’t one going on, you’ll need to ship the cards. You can find a number of resources on the Military.com Support Our Troops resource page. Alternatively, you can visit one of the number of sites such as the USO or Soldiers Angels to find more information on different types of donations.
Andrei Milosevic is an international student, traveler, and writer. Over the past few years, he has been studying international business and providing advice and insight into international calling. In his free time he kayaks and Skypes with his best friend back home in Serbia.