Long Island Schools Get a Lesson in Fighting Hunger from Verizon and Island Harvest

Verizon's support of Island Harvest, Long Island's largest hunger-relief organization, continues in 2012 with the company helping to educate Long Island schoolchildren about the critical problem of hunger across Long Island.

The company is a sponsor of Island Harvest's Hunger Awareness/Coin Harvest Student Campaign, which both raises awareness of hunger on the Island, and teaches students valuable lessons in volunteerism and how they can be part of the solution in addressing one of society's most pressing issues.

As part of the school-based initiative, students are urged to collect coins in brown paper bags, which are being distributed to more than 70 school districts across Long Island.  The bags of coins will be brought to schools to fill large collection buckets, which in turn will be donated to Island Harvest to assist in its local hunger-relief efforts.

As a special incentive, Verizon will match the student coin collections, up to a total of $10,000.

The company is also conducting a Heroes Sweeps contest among the participating schools.  Now through June 3, students, parents and anyone in a school's community can vote online for their school during a three-week campaign period designated for each school. 

Verizon has partnered with ESPN to develop a prize package worth $10,000 to one winning Long Island school.  The companies' efforts to raise awareness of the problem of hunger demonstrate a strong partnership between businesses and communities, and send a strong message to school children that hunger is an issue in every community.

In addition, the winning school will be featured on FiOS1 News' hit TV show "Heroes on Our Island."  Votes can be submitted at www.verizon.com/heroessweeps.  The list of schools is updated weekly.

FiOS1 Long Island is available on Channel 1 on the FiOS TV lineup, and only for Verizon FiOS customers on Long Island.

"Our partnership with Island Harvest has proven to be one of the most successful ever," said Susan Retta, Verizon vice president of marketing.  "We are proud to serve Long Island customers, and so many of our employees live and work here.  So we take special interest in helping our friends and neighbors to understand the problem of hunger on Long Island, and more importantly, what they can do to help.

"Verizon salutes the many schools, students and their families who are supporting Island Harvest in its efforts to feed the nearly 300,000 Long Islanders - including 110,000 children - who know hunger firsthand.  You are all truly 'heroes on our island,'" Retta said.

Gregg Linker, a teacher at the Jennie E. Hewitt School in Rockville Centre, and her fifth-grade class were recently featured in a segment of "Heroes on Our Island."  Linker and her class as well as the entire Hewitt school have been working with Island Harvest for 10 years, collecting and donating food and money, and encouraging students' involvement.

"Our students have benefitted greatly from learning about and experiencing the importance of community service," said Linker. 

According to Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO of Island Harvest, "Hunger continues to be a very real problem in our communities, but thanks to Verizon's ongoing efforts and generosity, we're able to make a positive impact in the lives of those who struggle with hunger every day."

The company has produced a 30-second promotional video describing the campaign and the Heroes Sweeps contest.  The video is posted on both the FiOS1 and Island Harvest websites, and can be viewed at www.fios1news.com/longisland/heroes.

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 nearly 109 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 $111 billion in 2011 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 194,000.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.