NEW YORK, Sept. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Verizon Foundation, Verizon's philanthropic arm, will give the American Red Cross a $100,000 grant to assist in relief efforts in communities affected by Hurricane Irene. Additionally, the foundation's disaster relief incentive program will match dollar-for-dollar all donations by U.S.-based Verizon employees, up to $1,000 per employee, to the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army for Hurricane Irene relief.
"Verizon has a long tradition of running to a crisis to quickly assist communities in need," said Verizon Foundation President Rose Kirk. "It is our friends and neighbors who are affected by the devastation of Hurricane Irene, and providing this assistance is the least we can do."
Verizon Wireless customers can support relief efforts by making a $10 donation to one of nine organizations by sending a text message. Donating is easy; customers simply text a specific word to the organization's designated short code:
- American Red Cross Relief: Text "REDCROSS" to 90999
- Salvation Army: Text "STORM" to 80888
- Vermont Food Bank: Text "FOODNOW" to 52000
- World Vision: Text "IRENE" or "STORMUSA" to 777444
- United Way Greater Capital Region (Albany, NY): Text "IRENE" to 80888
- United Way of Hudson County (NJ): Text "UWHC" to 85944
- United Way of Bergen County (NJ): Text "CFUND" to 85944
- North Carolina Baptists Mission: Text "IRENE" to 85944
- Operation Compassion: Text "HURRICANE" to 85944
Verizon Wireless always waives text-messaging fees for disaster relief, so text messages are free when used to make donations to any of these organizations, and 100 percent of each $10 donation goes to the relief organization. For Verizon Wireless customers who pay monthly bills, the $10 donations will appear on their next bill. For customers using the company's prepaid services, the donations will be deducted from customers' prepaid balances.
Verizon's grant to the Red Cross will help the organization's efforts to provide food, shelter, cleaning supplies and emotional support to people in communities from the Carolinas to Maine affected by the hurricane.
Michael J. Brown, vice president of corporate and foundation partnerships of the Red Cross, said: "Verizon's donation comes at a key point as we continue our work up and down the East Coast to help people affected by Irene. The recovery and cleanup will take time, and every donation or help by volunteers is critical and greatly needed."
The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year and spends an average of $450 million annually on disaster relief throughout the U.S. and around the world. Major disasters that impact entire communities – like Hurricane Irene – add to the total cost of response efforts. The Red Cross anticipates Hurricane Irene relief efforts alone will cost between $10 million-$15 million. For additional information on how the organization is providing relief to those affected by the hurricane and other disasters, or to make a financial donation, donate blood or volunteer, visit www.redcross.org.
Verizon Continues to Assist Recovery Efforts
Verizon continues to assist recovery efforts in the aftermath of Irene by supporting public safety agencies with additional wireless communication devices, network capacity and coverage.
Before the storm made landfall, Verizon activated its Crisis Response Team and staged equipment in strategic locations in preparation for recovery activities. The Crisis Response Team and the wireless network, government and business sales teams have continued to work closely with federal, state and local emergency management officials.
Verizon activities included:
- Lending hundreds of wireless handsets and dedicated mobile Internet hot spot devices to local, state and federal public safety organizations.
- Activating additional network resources, including temporary mobile cell sites and generators, and quickly restoring service to assist customers and public safety teams in Brattleboro and Dover, Vt.; Forkston, Pa.; Margaretsville and Prattsville, N.Y.; Stumpy Point, N.C.; Paterson, N.J.; and New Kent, King and Queen counties in Virginia.
(Click here (http://news.vzw.com/news/2011/09/pr2011-09-08.html) to view a Verizon Wireless news release containing more details about the company's success in maintaining and restoring service in areas affected by the storm.)
Verizon's wireline operations experienced no major network issues, even though the storm knocked down hundreds of poles and communications cables.
The company's Major Emergency Response Incident Team (MERIT) was deployed to North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Jersey to help network operations employees.
The Verizon Foundation uses its technology, financial resources and partnerships to address critical social issues, with a focus on education and domestic violence prevention. In 2010, the foundation awarded nearly $67 million to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered nearly 6 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with more than 106 million total connections nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 196,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of $106.6 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.
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