Senator Joseph Griffo's third annual Cell Phones for Soldiers Drive was a huge success.

Griffo and AT&T teamed up to collect nearly 1,700 used cell phones.

He says for every donated phone valued at $5, Cell Phones for Soldiers is able to provide two and-a-half hours of free talk time to deployed troops through calling cards.

Griffo says that means an estimated 80,000 minutes of free calls for the troops to their loved ones back home.

"Every year, the residents of my district have stepped up to help out those who are in need of assistance and this year has been no different,"  Griffo said. "The public has again shown how much they value and appreciate the brave men and women serving our country in the armed forces by donating their unused cell phones and other mobile devices to ensure that our troops have the opportunity to talk with their loved ones and families this holiday season."

The CSEA Local 414  Veterans Committee in Rome played a large role in the drive by collecting about 850 phones.

Last year's drive brought in about 1,000 cell phones.