Children's Books Collected at Verizon Plus Stores in Florida to Benefit Local Schools, Community Centers and Literacy Programs

TAMPA, Fla. - Holiday shoppers will have the opportunity to give the gift of reading through the Verizon Foundation's annual Season's Readings campaign.

Throughout the holiday season, shoppers are invited to drop off new or gently used children's books at any of the 16 Verizon Plus stores throughout Florida. The books will be distributed to schools, community centers and literacy programs throughout the state.

Season's Readings began in 2001 as a Verizon employees campaign to advance the cause of children's literacy. Since then, more than 2 million children's books have been donated to 3,500 organizations across the country. This is the first year that all Verizon Plus Stores will serve as book collection sites.

Those wishing to take part in this year's campaign can drop off new or gently used children's books at the following Verizon Plus locations:

  • 6102 14th St. W, Bradenton

  • 2478 Brandon Blvd. W, Brandon

  • 2551 Drew St., Ste 303, Clearwater

  • 27001 U.S. Highway 19 N, Ste 1003, Clearwater

  • 120 E. Lime St., Lakeland

  • 10500 Ulmerton Rd., Largo

  • 209 W. Alexander St., Plant City

  • 9409 U.S. Highway 19N, Ste 295, Port Richey

  • 1701 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota

  • 913 First Ave. North, St. Petersburg

  • 6808 22nd Ave. North, St. Petersburg

  • 12400 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa

  • 8456 W. Hillsborough Ave., Tampa

  • 2381 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa

  • 3611 W. Hillsborough Ave., Tampa

  • 710 Cypress Gardens, Blvd., Winter Haven

The books donated in Florida will be given to organizations in the local communities where the books are collected.  The organizations include:

  • Boys & Girls Club of Tampa Bay, North Tampa Branch

  • Combee Elementary School, Lakeland

  • Even Start Family Literacy Program, St. Petersburg

  • Emma E. Booker Elementary School, Sarasota

  • Hillsborough Education Foundation, Tampa

  • Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School, Largo

  • University Area Community Center in Tampa

In addition to collecting books at Verizon Plus locations, Verizon employees at more than 380 other company locations, including 11 in Florida, will participate in the annual giving campaign, with the goal of collecting at least 100,000 books.

"Whether by donating a book or donating their time, our active and retired employees make a significant difference each year for the children in the communities we serve," said Michelle Robinson, Verizon president - Southeastern region. "We welcome everyone to become a part of our effort to get books into the hands of children to help them become lifelong learners."

For more information on the Season's Readings campaign, visit http://foundation.verizon.com/seasonsreadings. Those visiting the site will also have the opportunity to participate in the campaign by purchasing children's books through First Book, a nonprofit organization that provides new books to low-income families and to children participating in community-based mentoring, tutoring and family literacy programs.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its signature program, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2007, the foundation awarded more than $67.4 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $25.1 million in combined contributions. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000.

For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 71 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 228,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.