Verizon Gives $20,000 to American Red Cross to Aid in Central Texas Wildfire Relief Efforts

The Verizon Foundation, Verizon's philanthropic arm, has awarded the American Red Cross a $20,000 grant to assist in relief efforts in communities affected by wildfires in Central Texas and to help prepare for future disasters.

"Verizon has a long tradition of reaching out to assist communities in need," said David O. Russell, Verizon vice president for external affairs.  "Our friends and neighbors were impacted by the devastation of these wildfires and are beginning to rebuild their lives.  We want to provide assistance in that effort and help the Red Cross prepare for any unforeseen future events."

American Red Cross Regional CEO Marty McKellips said: "The support of the Verizon Foundation will help us pay for shelter, food and support services we were able to offer to our neighbors during and following the devastating wildfires this fall. Our heartfelt thanks go out to Verizon for helping us respond to this disaster, as well as replenish our supplies to be ready for next time."

Earlier this fall, fires ravaged parts of Central Texas - including Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Llano, Lee, Milam, Travis and Williamson counties - destroying more than 35,000 acres and at least 1,400 homes.

The American Red Cross responded to the wildfires and impacted communities within one hour of the disaster's outbreak, opening seven shelters for a total of 982 overnight stays. The organization also provided 59,862 snacks and meals -- from four fixed sites where meals were available to anyone who needed them for two weeks as well as from 14 emergency Response Trucks that went out into communities. The Red Cross has also distributed 31,549 cleanup items, including gloves, rakes, shovels and sifters, to families affected by the wildfires.

While the fires were raging in Bastrop, Verizon donated time and resources to assist in the relief efforts.  For example, Verizon Wireless set up a station where residents could place calls, charge phones and send email messages.

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.

Firefighters have battled wildfires throughout Texas in 2011. The grant to the American Red Cross comes after the Verizon Foundation this summer donated $24,500 to the Texas Wildfire Relief Fund to support volunteer fire departments across the state.

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 107 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 with $106.6 billion in 2010 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 195,000.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.