Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Features / Living

December 29, 2013

Funny name, serious business

Vooble Recycling turns broken, outdated phones into a lifeline for battered women, soldiers

Vooble Recycling, based in Burleson and Crowley, is a nonprofit organization that recycles handheld electronics — smartphones, MP3 players, tablets — and donates them to battered women’s shelters and men and women on active duty in the U.S. military.

“Vooble just sounds funny,” Moody said. “It’s just fun to say. We picked a silly name for our organization on purpose, because it helps people remember the name.”

But Moody said there’s nothing funny about her goals to keep dangerous waste out of landfills while at the same providing a lifeline for battered women and American soldiers.

Moody said she started Vooble Recycling after being laid off last January.

“I was just looking for something to do to fill my time, and I decided to try this,” she said, explaining that “this” is taking in broken or outdated handheld electronics and smartphones and recycling each and every piece of them. “I just thought it would be something to do while I looked for another job. But then, it just exploded. And I decided to do it full time.”

Moody said that when an electronic device comes to her and is “completely trashed,” she takes it apart, down to the barest of bare bones, and recycles every part of it. Often, the devices have salvageable parts, and she can put those parts together with pieces from another device, eventually creating one completely refurbished and working device.

“It’s like a big jigsaw puzzle,” Moody said. “I find the pieces that fit and I put them all together.”

The phones she refurbishes, Moody said, are then donated, either to a local shelter for battered women or to servicemen and women on active duty.

The phones donated to women’s shelters are handed out to the shelters’ clients as emergency phones, Moody said.

“So many times, women coming into these shelters have had to leave everything behind and just go,”Moody said. “Maybe they had a cellphone but they had to leave it, or it was broken and they can’t afford to replace it. These [donated phones] give them a life line, a way to call for help if they need it.”

Even if the phones are not connected to cellular service, she said, they are still valuable to the women. As long as a cellphone is charged and is within range of a tower to get a signal, it can be used to dial 9-11. And that is a call that can mean the difference between life and death for someone dealing with abuse.

Moody said she chooses to also donate refurbished phones to servicemen and women on active duty as a way to thank them for their service.

“Especially when [soldiers] have to go overseas, cellphones can be hard for them to come by. Maybe they can’t afford a phone, or maybe their phone has gotten lost or broken and they have no way to replace it,” she said. “This way, they don’t have to worry about that.”

Moody added that she has a very deep and abiding appreciation for her country’s soldiers, and it upsets her greatly to know that often when they return home they are “under-appreciated, or they have no one to care for them. That isn’t right, that these men and women who are willing to sacrifice so much for us are treated that way. This is my way of saying thank you.”

Sometimes, Moody said, she ends up with parts that she doesn’t need or “partial assemblies” that she can’t complete. When that happens, she said, “I’ve got vendors I work with that will buy those.” And that little bit of money coming in, she said, is just what she needs to make Vooble “completely self-sustaining.”

“It even gives me the chance to pay for some of the brand new phones that people want to get rid of but can’t afford to just donate,” she said.

Vooble, Moody said is “ultra green, ultra efficient,” and because of that, “I never have to ask anybody for money. If someone wants to donate a phone or whatever, that’s good. But I don’t have to ask for money.”

Not only does she not have to ask for cash donations to keep the electronics refurbishing efforts going, Vooble is so efficient that she has even made enough money to branch out with her charitable efforts.

This year, Moody said, Vooble was able to provide full Thanksgiving meals for three families. She planned to provide Christmas meals for needy families and was able to provide some gifts.

Moody said that she took her children along this year to deliver the Thanksgiving meals, and that the children also went along at Christmas, too. That’s one way, she said, that she can pass along a valuable lesson she learned from her mother, and that is the root from which Vooble has grown.

“When I was a kid, my mother always took our old phones and donated them to the shelters. Not just phones, either. She donated clothes and food and other stuff,” Moody said. “She has always had health problems herself. But she always found a way to give back.”

Moody said her mother has MS and Lyme Disease, and in the recent past, suffered a stroke and a seizure that almost killed her. It was an experience, Moody said, “that really makes you reassess your life and what’s really important in this world.”

For information about Vooble Recycling or to donate used electronics, call 682-521-4729, email vooblerecycling@yahoo.com or visit www.facebook.com/vooblerecycling.

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