World’s Largest Industry-Related Volunteer Group Kicks Off 100th Anniversary Year by Helping Veterans and the Homeless

The Pioneers, a volunteer service group whose members include Verizon employees and retirees, is celebrating the start of its 100th anniversary year by helping veterans and the homeless served by several organizations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Since 1911, the Pioneers has been answering the call of need in the communities where its members live and work. The organization, which consists of employees and retirees of the country's various communications companies and claims Alexander Graham Bell as one of its founding members, still lives up to its original mission to "effect immediate, tangible change in local communities." 

Over the past century, the communications industry has transformed greatly, but the Pioneers remains focused on its original commitment to community service.

In New England, the William J. Denver and Thomas Sherwin chapters of the Pioneers have designated Saturday (March 26) as "A Day of Caring." Throughout the day, celebratory events will be held in Massachusetts and Rhode Island that benefit four social service organizations that help the homeless and veterans.

"The purpose of this day is to bring a bright spot of happiness into a person's life that may need it, while also giving the organization items it needs," said Christine Casino, president of the Denver chapter "We're looking forward to our projects and are so proud to be part of such a wonderful organization."

At each event, Pioneers have sponsored a luncheon or dinner and will donate service, supplies or personal items that the organization may need.  The events are funded by a $20,000 donation from the Verizon Foundation.

"The Pioneers have always been an important part of the fabric of our company and the communities we serve," said Donna Cupelo, region president of Verizon New England. "They have been instrumental in driving positive change in our neighborhoods through their volunteer activities over the years. We are appreciative of their commitment to helping others, and look forward to their continued contributions."

The "Day of Caring" events are:

Springfield, Massachusetts - Friends of the Homeless www.fohspringfield.org/
Western Massachusetts Pioneers of the William J. Denver chapter will serve lunch to 180 homeless people who use this shelter. In addition, a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new computer lab will be held. Four new computers and a wireless printer were purchased and will be installed. The ceremony will include an introduction to the Verizon Thinkfinity and Pioneer websites.

Boston - New England Center for Homeless Veterans http://www.nechv.org/
The Thomas Sherwin chapter of Pioneers will provide dinner for 350 veterans at this shelter. Each veteran will receive a bag of toiletries and personal items. The Thomas Sherwin chapter also will donate stereo speakers for the large-screen television set the chapter gave the center last year.

Worcester, Massachusetts - Veterans Inc. www.veteransinc.org
Central Massachusetts Pioneers of the William J. Denver chapter will spend the day refurbishing the chapel and a meeting room for the 4,000-member organization. They also will donate a projector and screen.

Bristol R.I. - Rhode Island Veterans Home http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/cgi-bin/id/shelter.cgi?shelter=9436
Rhode Island Pioneers of the William J. Denver Chapter will provide a luncheon at the Venus De Milo Restaurant in Swansea, Mass., for more than 70 veterans living at the Rhode Island Veterans Home.  In addition, a subscription to Companion Radio will be purchased for each of the 121 rooms in the home. Companion Radio is a satellite service that provides the veterans with a variety of music. 

A Day of Caring is the first event in a string of activities that will mark the Pioneers' 100th year as the largest and most established industry-related volunteer organization in the world.  Various chapters across the country will participate in a number of social service projects and programs to mark the centennial, culminating in a centennial celebration in Boston in November.  Pioneers volunteer more than 15 million hours annually to respond to the individual needs of their communities.

About Pioneers
Founded in 1911 as the Telephone Pioneers of America, Pioneers has grown to be the largest industry-related volunteer organization in the world. A nonprofit network of more than 620,000 volunteers, Pioneers is committed to effect immediate, tangible change in local communities in partnership with its sponsors such as AT&T, Bell Aliant, Qwest, SaskTel, Verizon Foundation, FairPoint Communications, Frontier and Telcordia. Committed to serving communities in the United States, Canada and around the world, Pioneers is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. For more information, visit www.pioneersvolunteer.org or call 1-800-976-1914.

About Verizon
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 94.1 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 194,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of $106.6 billion.  For more information, visit verizon.com/news.