Lincoln’s KidCare accepts old cellphones, printer cartridges for recycling funds

Posted Aug. 31, 2011, at 9:47 p.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — To Michelle Russell, it’s an old story: Businesses want to help, but they can’t always spare the money.

People want to volunteer, but they can’t always find the time.

That’s why she likes the Go Green Give Green program, she says.

For the last 1½ years, the director of Lincoln’s KidCare America program has been accepting donations of used cellphones and printer cartridges from Lincoln Lakes region businesses and residents, she said.

Those who donate the used items to KidCare help the after-school mentoring program get $.25 to $25 per item, or about $800 in the last year, Russell said — a fair number, given how little-known the recycling program is.

“We get something for everything. Whether it be a cell or laser cartridge, we always get some money for it and it always helps,” Russell said recently.

Newer-model cellphones fetch $2 to $25 each, while most of the laser printer cartridges that qualify for the program, and there are hundreds, go for about $2 each, Russell said. Used inkjet printer cartridges go for $.25 to $.75 apiece.

Russell hopes to expand the number of participating businesses in the Lincoln Lakes region from the 25 who contribute.

Interested individuals can drop off their used items at the Lincoln Redemption Center on West Broadway or the location of her business, a building on the Community Evangel Temple campus at 124 River Road, she said.

Health Access Network, Gardner Inc. and Burnell & Bragdon Realty are among the businesses that contribute their used items, Russell said.

KidCare volunteers package the donated items themselves and ship them to recycling centers nationwide, using proceeds from the center to benefit the KidCare program. They also use the recycling program to teach their clients about recycling.

“This is a great way for people to feel involved without costing themselves any money,” Russell said. “It allows individuals who want to do something who cannot invest time or financial resources to be involved by contributing their cartridges or cellphones.”

KidCare is an after-school educational mentoring program that serves students in grades one through eight with individualized tutoring and mentoring programs. As part of the nonreligious programs, clients are matched with adult mentors who work with the child’s parents at supporting children and addressing any problems they might have, Russell said.

The program is entering its seventh year and has served 73 children, or as many as 15 per year, Russell said.

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