Verizon Partners With Island Harvest to Feed People Who Are Hungry Across Long Island

With the holiday season approaching, Verizon's Long Island employees are pitching in and rolling up their sleeves to assist Island Harvest in its annual drive to collect food for people who are in need across Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Island Harvest, Long Island's largest hunger-relief organization, with a mission to end hunger and reduce food waste on the Island, has set a goal to collect 8 million pounds of food this year.

To jump-start the process the Verizon Foundation has presented a $10,000 grant to Island Harvest to support its Weekend Backpack Feeding Program.  This proven and popular initiative provides shelf-stable, weekend food packs to children who rely on school meals as their primary source of nourishment and may not get enough to eat on weekends.

Verizon Foundation support will mean that throughout the 2010-11 school year, about 65 more students at Ulysses Byas Elementary School in Roosevelt - in addition to the 260 students who are already part of the program - will no longer be hungry when they arrive at school on Monday mornings.  As a result, they will be able to focus completely on their school work.  The grant also will support 16 other participating schools across Long Island.

Verizon's Long Island employees are assisting in the 8-million-pound food collection effort through several activities across the Island:

  • Verizon teams have set up food drop-off locations at two of the company's FiOS stores at 199 Fulton Ave., Hempstead, and at 125 Kennedy Drive (rear), Hauppauge.  Hours at both centers are Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Verizon teams will be present at Island Harvest events as well as other events on Long Island where residents can drop off food donations.  
  • Special Island Harvest- and Verizon-branded brown paper shopping bags and food donation boxes will be placed at the Tanger Outlet Mall in Deer Park, select 7-Eleven convenience stores, and Stop & Shop and Shop Rite supermarkets. For specific location details visit http://www.islandharvest.org/page.aspx?name=pressreleases&newsid=104.
  • Through its marketing partnership with the New York Islanders, Verizon will collect food donations at two home games at Nassau Coliseum on Nov. 24 and 26, the days just before and after Thanksgiving.  Those who donate three or more nonperishable items will receive a voucher for one free ticket to the Islanders' Dec. 16 or Jan. 11 game.  Tickets are subject to availability, and there is a limit of one voucher per family.
  • To help raise awareness of the need for food donations, Verizon will promote Island Harvest's goal with e-mail messages and social media postings on the company's Facebook pages and Twitter handles.
  • A series of exclusive feature stories about Island Harvest and the activities it is conducting to achieve its food collection goal will be broadcast on Verizon's FiOS1 Long Island, Verizon's news and community channel dedicated to Islandwide news.  These periodic updates on the food drive's progress will also be posted at www.fios1news.com/LongIsland.php.
  • For Long Islanders who order Verizon services, like FiOS TV, Verizon will make cash donations, up to $65 for each qualifying order, to Island Harvest through the end of the year.  For more information, consumers can visit the Verizon Velocity program, or call 1-888-692-5385
  • Employee food drives are being conducted at Verizon garages and offices across Long Island.

Long Islanders also can make monetary donations at http://www.islandharvest.org/page.aspx?name=contribute.

"This is just the right thing to do," said Tracey Edwards, Verizon's vice president for operations on Long Island.  "Our 2,500 employees across the Island are strong ambassadors in their Long Island communities, and we're asking them to spread the word to their friends and neighbors - across the backyard fence, and at weekend soccer games - about the urgent need for food donations." 

Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO of Island Harvest, said: "It's because of our corporate partners, like Verizon, that Island Harvest is able to provide critical food support to over 285,000 Long Islanders - including 110,000 children - who rely on the numerous soup kitchens, food pantries and emergency feeding programs we supply.  Verizon's corporate commitment to philanthropic causes, coupled with the generosity of its employees, will go a long way to help address the growing issue of hunger in our communities."

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 mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 93 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 195,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.