Time Warner Cable and News 14 Carolina will host a telethon Friday to raise money for the American Red Cross tornado recovery efforts in North Carolina, and the cable company will match donations received up to $75,000.
Donations to Red Cross efforts can be made at this link or by calling 1-877-792-6719 Friday during the Community Recovery Drive on News 14 Carolina, 6 a.m.-7 p.m.
News 14 Carolina will feature the telethon every hour throughout the day with American Red Cross, News 14 Carolina and Time Warner Cable representatives and many special guests.
The guest lineup includes NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Kyle Petty, current NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Johnson Crew Chief Chad Knaus, Carolina Panthers Head Football Coach Ron Rivera, "The Voice of the Tar Heels" Woody Durham, NC State Women's Basketball Coach Kellie Harper, Duke University Head Football Coach David Cutcliffe.
More are being added.
Elected officials participating include Gov. Beverly Perdue; Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton; N.C. house speaker Thom Tillis; N.C. Senate president pro tempore Philip Berger; U.S. Reps. Mike McIntyre, Renee Ellmers and Howard Coble; and Fayetteville Mayor Anthony G. Chavonne.
Several members of the North Carolina General Assembly representing some of the hardest hit areas of the state will participate, including N.C. State Sens. Ed Jones, E.S. "Buck" Newton, David Rouzer, Richard Stevens and Michael P. Walters, and N.C. Rep. James H. Langdon, Jr.
"Our restoration crews saw the devastation first-hand and talked to so many who lost everything. We all want to do whatever we can to help our neighbors and our communities recover as quickly as possible," Carol Hevey, executive vice president, Time Warner Cable East, said in a release.
"We know the need is still great and full recovery will take months, not days. Our hope is this telethon will not only raise much needed funds to assist the American Red Cross in its vital mission here, but will also keep the spotlight on the long-term recovery and what we can do as a community to help."
Time Warner Cable is the state's largest cable provider with 2.1 million customers across N.C. and S.C. and more than 800,000 customers in the Raleigh, Fayetteville and Wilmington, N.C., areas most affected by the tornadoes.
News 14 Carolina is North Carolina's only statewide news channel with newsrooms in Charlotte, Salisbury, Greensboro, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Goldsboro, Wilmington and Newport.
During the telethon, Time Warner Cable will utilize special phone banks within five customer care centers -- in Wilmington, Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte, N.C., and Columbia, S.C. -- staffed by Time Warner Cable volunteers to answer the phones and record pledges.
The American Red Cross estimates almost 6,600 families in North Carolina were affected by the 28 tornadoes that ripped through the area April 16.
The Red Cross currently has more than 30 emergency response vehicles in action distributing meals, water, snacks and clean-up items like shovels, rakes, work gloves and trash bags throughout the affected neighborhoods. Red Cross volunteers continue to work tirelessly to help families find long-term shelter, either permanent or temporary while they are rebuilding and recovering.
"The need here in North Carolina for recovery support remains very high," Barry Porter, executive director, American Red Cross of the Triangle, said. "To put the tornado damage in perspective, last year 3,500 families lost their homes to fire in North Carolina and we spent nearly $1.9 million for food, shelter and clothing for those victims. The number of homes destroyed or uninhabitable in one afternoon by the tornadoes was 1,800 - more than half of that whole year of house fires. The cost of feeding, sheltering and recovery for tornado victims will eclipse the fires' cost many times over."
Other Time Warner Cable efforts locally include: an Initial $25,000 donation to American Red Cross for tornado recovery; provision of 83 Personal Mobile Hot Spots ($24,000 value) for use by families displaced by storm damage; partnership with Cisco to set up FEMA's 24x7 Emergency Response Unit in Raleigh, providing complimentary high speed data and phone service; and providing four weeks of PSA airtime to the American Red Cross to help seek donations (approx.$250,000 value).
All monies raised during the Community Recovery Drive will go directly to benefit those affected in North Carolina. Any money raised above and beyond what is needed in North Carolina would be used for future disasters in the U.S.