HONOLULU -- Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is donating $25,000 to the Hawaii State Chapter of the American Red Cross, to aid relief efforts on the Big Island after last week's major storm.
"In a time when many families are already struggling, the storm damage created more hardship," said Warren Haruki, Verizon Hawaii president. "The American Red Cross is always there in times of strife to support our communities, but it's an effort that none of us should take for granted. We hope this donation will make it a little easier for our customers on the Big Island to get their lives back in order, and help the Hawaii State Chapter of the American Red Cross to maintain its continued state of preparedness."
"Thanks to donations like these, the Red Cross can bring assistance and supplies to the people who were affected by last week's floods," said Roger Dickson, Chief Executive Officer of the Hawaii State Chapter of the American Red Cross. "Our humanitarian efforts rely solely on donations and the Verizon Foundation is setting a great example for other organizations."
The Red Cross estimates that about 240 families on the Big Island will need some type of assistance. A Family Service Center was opened on Sunday at the Ahfook Chinen Civic Auditorium to provide emergency help to those that were affected by floods. The Service Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will remain open until everyone requiring aid has been helped. Currently, the Red Cross has 54 people working on its disaster relief operations, 51 of whom are volunteers.
Flooding from the storm affected telephone service and Verizon Hawaii crews are working 12-hour shifts to repair damage to cables and facilities. The company also continues to work with affected communities to prioritize repairs, especially for health and emergency services.
"Due to the severe storm damage, there is a tremendous volume of work to restore service," said Verizon Hawaii Big Island manager Dwayne Miyashiro. The full extent of the storm impact on our network is still unknown because many areas of the Big Island are inaccessible due to damaged roadways.
"We are currently using helicopters to get a better assessment of the damage," Miyashiro said. "We've also brought in Verizon technicians from Oahu and Kauai to beef up our work force by about 20 percent. We appreciate the community's understanding that our work to restore phone service to Big Island customers may cause some delays in fulfilling our less urgent commitments on all three islands."
Verizon Foundation supports programs that create innovative e-solutions, help bridge the digital divide, foster basic and computer literacy, help enrich communities, and create a skilled workforce. Verizon Foundation promotes partnerships in technology with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, and the economically and socially disadvantaged. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with more than 100 million access line equivalents and 25.6 million wireless customers. A Fortune 10 company with more than 260,000 employees and approximately $60 billion in 1999 revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com .