NEW YORK - As generous donors contact call centers across the nation Friday evening during the national telethon, "Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast," chances are very good that the donors will speak to a Verizon employee volunteer who will expedite their pledge.
More than 10,000 Verizon and Verizon Wireless employees at 24 call centers in 15 states from Vermont to California are volunteering to help answer the expected heavy volume of donation calls prompted by an all-star special program that will help raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims. Proceeds of the telethon will go to the American Red Cross and Salvation Army.
The commercial-free telethon will be simulcast live in the East and Central time zones by ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, the WB and UPN networks plus more than 30 cable affiliate channels, and tape-delayed for the nation's other time zones. It begins at 8 p.m. EDT, 7 p.m. CDT.
The telethon will feature leading entertainers from the film, television and music industry. Joel Gallen, producer of the successful "America: A Tribute to Heroes" telethon, which raised more than $150 million in pledges in 2001 for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, will produce this week's event.
"Like Americans everywhere, Verizon employees have responded with amazing generosity to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina," said Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon chairman and CEO. "Supporting the telethon is one more way our people are putting their values into action, and we're honored to be a part of it."
In 2001, Verizon volunteers across the country handled nearly one-fourth of all the donation calls generated by the Tribute to Heroes telethon, which was also simulcast on numerous television networks. Additional corporations will provide call-center support for Friday's telethon.
Participating Verizon and Verizon Wireless call centers, including three that will provide Spanish-language support, include:
- Chandler, Ariz.
- Long Beach, Oxnard, Santa Monica and Victorville, Calif.
- Tampa, Fla.
- Andover, Mass.
- Beltsville, Md.
- Wentzville, Mo.
- Jersey City and Robbinsville, N.J.
- Buffalo, Queens, Manhattan, Rochester and White Plains, N.Y.
- Marion, Ohio
- Cranberry Woods and Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Dallas, Texas
- Virginia Beach, Va.
- Burlington, Vt.
- Everett, Wash.
- Charleston, W.Va.
Apart from the telethon support, Verizon and Verizon Wireless employees plus the Verizon Foundation have already raised more than $6 million as part of a special disaster relief campaign. The Verizon Foundation is providing a 2-to-1 match for every dollar donated by employees to the American Red Cross to aid relief efforts along the Gulf Coast.
In addition, Verizon and Verizon Wireless are providing multiple forms of communications assistance including the deployment of mobile pay-phone trailers, cell phones, phone banks and portable cell sites at refugee centers along with the distribution of tens of thousands of free prepaid calling cards. Verizon Wireless provides cellular service in many of the communities ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, but Verizon does not provide local telephone or data services in Alabama, Louisiana or Mississippi.
With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of more than 214,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom provides customers based in 28 states with wireline and other telecommunications services, including broadband. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 47.4 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.