RealTime IT News

Texting '2HELP' 4 Hurricane Relief

Verizon Wireless is making it easy for mobile phone users to help with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

Subscribers can now text "2HELP" on their wireless phones to donate to the American Red Cross. The service is being powered by mobile platform maker m-Qube.

When users punch in the text address, they will be asked to confirm a $5 donation to the Red Cross. Users can send up to four additional text messages for a total contribution of $25.

"We're at the beginning of what will be a massive recovery effort for Hurricane Katrina," Kathleen Loehr, vice president of strategic fundraising for the American Red Cross, said in a statement. "There is a tremendous amount of work to be done, and we appreciate the support of Verizon Wireless and especially its customers through this text messaging program."

The effort is the latest by telecom and IT companies to help victims of one of the worst natural disasters in the nation's history.

For example, Sprint-Nextel said Tuesday it would deploy its emergency response team (ERT) to aid government and emergency services' restoration efforts. The ERT is equipped with 3,000 Nextel handsets, five satellite cells on light trucks and a number of support RVs.

Other tech companies have donated cash. The Intel Foundation, the philanthropic arm of chipmaking giant Intel , announced on Thursday that it give $1 million to the Red Cross to help Katrina's victims. In addition, the foundation will match donations by Intel employees.