SOURCE: Goodwill Industries International

October 25, 2005 10:56 ET

Free Voicemail Service for Gulf Coast Residents Displaced by Hurricanes

100,000 Personal Voicemail Boxes Ready for Distribution

ROCKVILLE, MD -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 25, 2005 -- Goodwill Industries is providing free voicemail boxes to Gulf Coast residents displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita through a collaborative effort with Community Voice Mail National and Cisco Systems.

People displaced by the hurricanes can receive a free, personal voicemail box with a toll-free contact number that can be accessed from anywhere in the country. The user dials the toll-free number, enters a private pass code and picks up his messages.

"A 24/7 voicemail number is a valuable tool for those hoping to build a stable life, even if they only have intermittent access to a telephone," says George W. Kessinger, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. "People can communicate with employers or potential employers, access needed government benefits and services, and receive messages from friends and family."

More than 100,000 personal voicemail boxes will be made available through local Goodwill agencies and other community-based organizations. The program is an extension of Community Voice Mail National's ongoing work to provide persons in crisis and transition access to a consistent local phone number.

"Reliable access to communication is vital to those recovering from catastrophic loss and displacement. A Community Voice Mail number travels with an individual, providing a consistent way for FEMA, employers, loved ones and relief agencies to contact displaced families as they search for new homes and opportunity," says Jennifer Brandon, Executive Director of Community Voice Mail's National Office.

"A working message system is essential for communicating with prospective employers as people search for jobs in their new communities," says Kessinger. "We must do everything possible to help the survivors of Katrina and Rita find work and rebuild their lives. Providing them with a phone number and voice-mail is a crucial step."

Since Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, local Goodwill agencies have been helping connect evacuees to new temporary and permanent jobs. Hundreds have attended job fairs that Goodwill has helped organize in various cities, including Shreveport, LA, and Austin, TX. In other areas, Goodwill career counselors are working with evacuees one-on-one to provide help with resumes and job searches, and, where possible, hiring them to work in Goodwill stores and production areas.

Contact Information

  • Contact
    Christine Nyirjesy Bragale, ABC
    Goodwill Industries International
    Ph. (240) 333-5264

    Patricia Bonnell
    Community Voice Mail
    Ph: (206) 441-7872 x150