By Sherry Adler
Hurricane Sandy caused massive destruction along the east coast of the U.S., mainly in the tri-state region of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The monster storm knocked out much of the transportation system for days, and pummeled southern New Jersey’s famed recreation and resort area. Many residents lost their homes and possessions. Others still are without power more than one week after the tempest made landfall.
John Calipari, University of Kentucky basketball coach, is no stranger to natural disaster relief efforts. He raised more than $1 million to help victims of the earthquake in Haiti several years ago. Last week, Coach Cal, as he is known, mobilized the members of his team and others. What could they do to aid those whose lives were upended by Hurricane Sandy? Hold a telethon.
They organized the event with the American Red Cross. It aired on Wednesday, Nov. 7, on WKYT-TV in Lexington. But the television station had only 15 inbound phone lines to take calls – this is where Xerox came in. An expert in the call center business, Xerox received a request to help these volunteer efforts with volunteer efforts of its own. Connie Harvey, chief operating officer, Commercial Services, based in Lexington, immediately said “yes.” So did many resources in her service area. They swung into action.
The group set up an impromptu call center in a training room in its New Circle Road location. About 40 employees donated their time to answer phones and take pledges. In a matter of two hours, they handled 940 calls. They took in $53,767, which brought the fund raising total for the night to $160,000. With matching money and online auction items, the event raised nearly $1 million. Connie presented a $10,000 check on air from the Xerox Foundation, which was in addition to the $250,000 that Xerox donated to the American Red Cross nearly two weeks ago.
If you’d like to make a donation to help those affected by the hurricane, please visit the American Red Cross here for more information.
Sherry Adler is a freelance writer for Xerox. She covers technology, services, community-related and human interest stories.