Best Buddies collects old devices

Club recommences recycled phone program to fundraise for trip

(Olivia Loomis) The Best Buddies EcoPhones donation box sits in the main office. The club is using these donations to fundraise for their upcoming trip to the Everglades.
(Olivia Loomis) The Best Buddies EcoPhones donation box sits in the main office. The club is using these donations to fundraise for their upcoming trip to the Everglades.

Best Buddies is currently collecting old cell phones, tablets, iPods and ink cartridges in the main office of both SHS and SIS in bins marked “Eco Phones.” Money from the fundraiser will go towards sending a group of students to Florida in the spring of 2016.

The items collected will be sent to a company called EcoPhones to be recycled. In exchange, EcoPhones will send Best Buddies a donation, which will go toward helping pay for their trip.

“We did it last year as a fundraiser for our Hawaii trip … It was an easy way to make money … We love that it’s a recycling thing,” said Christina Gagne, special education teacher and Best Buddies advisor.

Best Buddies has a goal of goal of over $10,000 for the Florida trip. So far, the group has participated in a Culvers night, where 10 percent of the proceeds for the night went to Best Buddies, and sold raffle tickets for a Packers game.

These fundraisers, however, did not raise as much as advisors had hoped.

“Our goal was $2,000 [for the raffle] and we didn’t meet our goal, so this [fundraiser] was a way to try to make up the difference,” Gagne said.

This year Best Buddies hopes to surpass the money they made during last year’s EcoPhones fundraiser for Hawaii.

“The big thing is we just have to get the word out that we’re doing it,” Gagne said.

According to Gagne, last year’s trip to Hawaii required a lot more fundraising in much less time.

“Last year we made over $30,000, that was a lot, this trip isn’t quite as expensive… Raising over $30,000 in just four or five months was kind of insane, [but] this time we’re going to do it over two years.” Gagne said.  According to club members, it was very difficult to raise the money for Hawaii.

“We had to do a lot of fundraising to get enough of money to do it … We just made barely enough to do it,” said Charlie Johnson, sophomore and Best Buddies member.

Gagne said that the trips Best Buddies take are very fun, as well as educational.

“Once we went to Hawaii … they learned so much, and it was so powerful, that when we got back, [we decided] we have to do this [as] an ongoing thing. Every year is a little bit much, so our plan is to do it every other year,” Gagne said.

The Florida trip itinerary is already starting to be planned. During the trip the group will be able to explore Florida and camp in the Everglades.

“It’s an environmental, sort of outdoorsy trip,” said Noah Wolfe, sophomore and Best Buddies treasurer.

The most important thing for the trip right now is making sure the club raises enough money to go.

“We would really be happy if people will [help] us because if we don’t make enough money, … we won’t be able to go on this kind of trip,” Johnson said.

by Katie Eder and Leah Jorn

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