WIRELESS SUBSCRIBERS CAN TEXT 2HELP THE AMERICAN RED CROSS
Text 2HELPTM Allows Wireless Customers to Contribute $5 to Support the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund
Washington, DC, September 2, 2008-The Wireless Foundation and the American Red Cross announced today that most wireless subscribers in the U.S. can make a charitable donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund through the unique Text 2HELPTM program. Here’s how it works: Subscribers of participating wireless carriers can donate $5 simply by texting “GIVE” to 24357 (2HELP). The donations will appear on customers’ monthly bills or be debited from prepaid account balances. Standard text messaging rates may apply. The American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year, disasters like the Hurricanes of 2008.
“As part of being prepared for emergencies, consumers should be familiar with sending text messages because text messaging provides an additional and unique way to stay in touch. With Text 2HELP, our industry’s customers can practice their texting skills and donate to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund,” said Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association and President of The Wireless Foundation, the charitable organization coordinating Text 2HELP.
Wireless carriers participating in Text 2HELP include AT&T, Alltel, Sprint, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless. VeriSign is powering the intelligent messaging infrastructure to enable the short message service. Wireless users can text their donations anytime until October 31, 2008.
“We are encouraging cell phone users to make a $5 Text 2HELP donation to help the American Red Cross provide our neighbors in the Gulf Coast, and people across the country, with the help that they need in the face of emergencies,” said Gail McGovern, American Red Cross President and CEO. “Text 2HELP offers people an easy and efficient way to give using wireless technology. I want to extend my appreciation to both The Wireless Foundation and the wireless industry for giving us this innovative partnership, and to everyone who takes advantage of this chance to support the Red Cross through something as simple as a text message.”
The donation program, initially created to aid Hurricane Katrina relief assistance, is initiated whenever a disaster occurs and an American Red Cross assessment determines its relief efforts will require a substantial level of support. The most recent disaster response to Hurricane Gustav is the largest Red Cross relief effort since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and in response the Red Cross has moved workers, cots, blankets, comfort kits, ready-to-eat meals and more than 200 mobile feeding trucks into the area. The first priority for the Red Cross during any disaster is to provide people with food, shelter and emotional support. Disaster workers are on the receiving end to make those who leave their homes as comfortable as possible in Red Cross shelters. The Red Cross is also closely monitoring the path of three named storms, including Hurricane Hanna, Tropical Storm Ike and Tropical Storm Josephine.