NEW YORK, Sept. 8 -- Verizon has raised over $5 million for Hurricane Katrina survivors and is providing them with mobile pay- phone trailers, cell phones, phone banks and free prepaid calling cards. 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 in areas that were devastated by the hurricane. The company is making available mobile pay-phone trailers and phone banks at hurricane survivor shelters and temporary relocation facilities around the country and is donating 10,000 free cell phones with service to the American Red Cross, to be used at major centers where survivors are located, including the Houston Astrodome. Verizon Wireless Emergency Communication Centers have been established in Houston at the Astrodome and Reliant Arena to help evacuees place calls and recharge their phones. The centers are being staffed by volunteers Verizon Wireless employees from other states; the company reported that more than 300 calls per hour are being made at the two Houston evacuee centers.
Verizon is distributing an additional 20,000 pre-paid Verizon long-distance calling cards throughout the Southwest -- mostly in Texas -- to help evacuees contact family members and loved ones. Ten thousand cards are being distributed by Verizon employees and another 10,000 are being distributed by Verizon prepaid card retailer 7-Eleven stores in the region.
Verizon said it is also giving high-priority to requests from FEMA and other federal and state agencies for phone lines and other telecom services needed at existing and new evacuee centers where Verizon has a wireline presence. Installation work is already under way at locations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The company said it will also provide thousands of employee volunteers at company call centers around the US to receive and process calls during a national telethon Friday night to raise funds for victims.
For more information, visit: http://www.verizon.com