BAYTOWN, Texas - To aid with disaster relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Ike, the Verizon Foundation has awarded two $20,000 grants - one to the Texas division of the Salvation Army, the other to the Greater Houston chapter of the American Red Cross.
In addition, the foundation is offering a 1-to-1 match for contributions made by Verizon employees and retirees to assist in relief efforts, and employees have been traveling to southeast Texas to provide assistance to those in need.
"Hurricane Ike packed a powerful punch that has caused widespread devastation across southeast Texas," said Carl Erhart, president of Verizon's Southwest region. "Verizon not only provides valuable communications services here, but also our employees live and work in the area.
"We're mobilizing our resources and employees to restore service and to support rebuilding efforts that will help people get their lives back in order," Erhart said.
Contributions that Verizon employees make for disaster relief efforts will be matched 1-to-1, up to $1,000 per employee. Employees can direct their donations to various nonprofit organizations that are providing aid in the areas affected by Ike.
Verizon has partnered with the Volunteer Center of North Texas to coordinate recruitment of Verizon employee volunteers for organizations like the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the North Texas Food Bank.
Verizon serves a number of communities in the Houston metropolitan area, including Baytown, Dickinson, Hitchcock, Kemah, League City and Stafford, as well as communities northwest of Houston, such as Bryan and College Station.
The company continues to assess damage to its facilities and has begun initial restoration efforts. Verizon expects to use technicians from other parts of Texas in coming days to expedite the restoration of service for customers.
Backup generators and batteries are powering many Verizon facilities where commercial power is lost, ensuring that customers served by those facilities are still receiving phone service. Corded phones will work if customers' land lines are active. In addition, Verizon voice mail service - which is powered by the network - will work and can serve as a way to leave messages for family members.
Verizon customers should call 800-483-1000 to report any landline phone outage. Verizon repair representatives can arrange to forward calls being made to a customer's out-of-service landline to another number such as a wireless phone.
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 69 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 228,600 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.