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Cell Phone Recycling and Cleft Palates

May 4th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Cell phone recycling and cleft palates, is there a connection?

I was reading over the weekend this article in the Contra Costa Times about a group of elementary school students who partnered with PaceButler Corporation in a current charity fund drive. The Student council at the Parkmead Elementary School (460 students, 24 teachers) in Contra Costa County, California, has partnered with us recently to raise funds for a charitable organization by collecting old/used cell phones for recycling.

Cell phone recycling partner Parkmead Elementary School logo

A quick visit to the Parkmead Elementary School website and to the other sites that evaluate schools in the district reveals that Parkmead is an exceptionally progressive and multi-awarded school (2008 California Distinguished School, “Scholar School” in the Just for the Kids Honor Roll). Congratulations, guys! The school is located at 1920 Magnolia Way, Walnut Creek, CA 94595 and the fund drive is until May 23.  If you live nearby, you can drop your used or old cell phones at the school office Monday through Friday from 9am to 2 pm.

What caught my attention was the cell phone recycling charity fund drive itself and their target charity. According to the Contra Costa Times, the kids are giving all proceeds to an organization called The Smile Train.

The Smile Train logo

The Smile Train, as many of you may be familiar with, is an organization focused on “solving a single problem: cleft lip and palate.”  In its Mission Statement, The Smile Train defines their mission as:

  • To provide free cleft surgery for millions of poor children in developing countries.
  • To provide free cleft-related training for doctors and medical professionals.

And they intend to carry on with this laudable project “until there are no more children who need help and we have completely eradicated the problem of clefts.”

The reasoning is quite simple and obvious. Children with unrepaired clefts are practically condemned to live painful and marginalized lives. According to The Smile Train:

Clefts are a major problem in developing countries where there are millions of children who are suffering with unrepaired clefts. Most cannot eat or speak properly. Aren’t allowed to attend school or hold a job. And face very difficult lives filled with shame and isolation, pain and heartache. The good news is every single child with a cleft can be helped with surgery that costs as little as $250 and takes as little as 45 minutes.

Over the past 8 years, The Smile Train has provided free cleft surgery to over 200,000 children worldwide. One of their beneficiaries, Juliana, from the Philippines is shown below before and after she was helped by The Smile Train.

Juliana before her cleft surgery      Juliana after her cleft surgery

The Smile Train is supported predominantly by US donors who contribute their hard-earned cash knowing that such donation has the potential of transforming a person’s life. At the cost of $250 per surgery, The Smile Train claims that 100% of donation dollars coming from individuals and institutions are used to fund these surgeries world wide. There are those who question the efficiency of The Smile Train in the light of the massive advertising campaign they launched since December 2007 but overall, I think these guys are doing a truly meaningful job in giving cleft children worldwide a second chance in life.

That this was brought to my attention by a group of kids from Parkmead Elementary School in California is a humbling experience, and I would like to thank you, guys, personally. Makes me proud to live in a country where our children are trained at an early age to help the less fortunate. And yes, there’s a connection between cell phone recycling and cleft lips and palates.

If your school or organization would like to partner with Pacebutler Corporation in a cell phone recycling drive for charity or fund-raising campaign, please visit us at Fundraising with Pacebutler or call 1-800-248-5360 . You can also leave a comment here and we will make a follow-up call or email in the next few days.

Sources: Thanks to

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Cell Phone Recycling and Gorillas - The Hidden Connection | Pacebutler Blog // May 11, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    [...] “Can Cell Phone Recycling Help African Gorillas?” Cell Phone Recycling Articles: Cell Phone Recycling and Cleft Palates Cell Phone Recycling: “The Secret Life of Cell [...]

  • 2 rene // Oct 5, 2008 at 4:56 am

    I have 1000 phone in Spain, can you please help me with contact in Europe to recycling this goods.

  • 3 Tim Roberts // Dec 15, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    The amount of money Smile Train spends on marketing is outrageous. Their fundraising letters are essentially blackmail, saying that they’ll never ask you for money again if you give them something. If you don’t fork over they send letters about once a month with a picture of that poor child on the envelope to shock and disgust people. I have never seen any charity engage in such a despicable marketing campaign.