Merrill Lynch Links Senior Citizens With Family and Friends Globally During Holiday Season
FIRM CELEBRATES 28TH ANNIVERSARY OF CHRISTMAS CALLS PROGRAM; FREE PHONE CALLS PROVIDED TO LOCAL SENIOR CITIZENS
NEW YORK.— For the 28th consecutive year, Merrill Lynch (NYSE:MER) today welcomed senior citizens to its offices in New York City for free use of the firm’s telephones to call family and friends across the world.
“The Christmas Calls Program always has been a very special event for my family, and a joyous tradition at Merrill Lynch,” said John McDermott, senior vice president, head of global compliance, and 2007 Christmas Calls Program chairman. “It is also an especially enjoyable event for the employees and other volunteers who take time from their holiday celebrations to support thousands of seniors.”
Mr. McDermott was among the approximately 200 Merrill Lynch employees and their families who welcomed seniors visiting the company’s office at 222 Broadway in Lower Manhattan. Nearly 1,000 senior citizens began arriving at 8 am to place their calls worldwide. The seniors are from 26 New York City Department for the Aging senior centers.
“The Christmas Calls Program is a wonderful way to affirm the spirit of the holidays,” said New York City Department for the Aging Commissioner Edwin Méndez-Santiago, LCSW. “I want to thank Merrill Lynch for its ongoing commitment to this vital program. The holidays can be a lonely time for some seniors and these phone calls may be the only chance to speak with far-away friends and family. It can be hearing the words, ’I love you’ or ’I’m thinking about you,’ that make all the difference in the world in a senior’s life.”
Added Ali Hodin Baier, executive director of the Aging in New York Fund, “The Christmas Calls Program is an extraordinary gift that carries a different meaning for each senior. Many participate to call loved ones around the world, others use it as an opportunity to reconnect to old friends with whom they’ve lost touch, and some just for the social interaction and the joy of celebrating the holiday season with their friends and Merrill Lynch volunteers.”
Representatives of AT&T Inc. were on hand to ensure that the seniors were able to place their calls successfully.
Earlier this month, volunteers at Merrill Lynch’s Jersey City facilities hosted more than 1,400 senior citizens for Christmas Calls. Senior citizens also participated in the program at the firm’s Hopewell Campus in New Jersey.
In New York City, the Merrill Lynch Christmas Calls Program is made up of a series of activities.
For the Christmas Day event, Merrill Lynch works with the New York City Department for the Aging, and the Aging in New York Fund, its nonprofit arm, which arranges participation for centers within a 45-minute radius to the firm’s Lower Manhattan office. In addition, for members of those senior centers who are at home and cannot attend the Christmas Day event, Merrill Lynch volunteers access conference calls to those seniors’ friends and family across the world. To expand the program for events before Christmas Day, the New York City Department for the Aging, at the request of Merrill Lynch, also arranges participation for additional centers outside the 45-minute radius. AT&T volunteers bring cellphones, and Merrill Lynch volunteers provide and serve a catered lunch to those additional centers.
Merrill Lynch’s Christmas Calls Program began in 1980 as a single event at the firm’s corporate headquarters in New York with eight employee volunteers and more than 100 senior citizens participating. The Christmas Calls Program now is a companywide initiative that has reached more than 270,000 senior citizens globally since inception.
About Merrill Lynch
Merrill Lynch is one of the world’s leading wealth management, capital markets and advisory companies, with offices in 38 countries and territories and total client assets of almost $2.0 trillion. As an investment bank, it is a leading global trader and underwriter of securities and derivatives across a broad range of asset classes and serves as a strategic advisor to corporations, governments, institutions and individuals worldwide. Merrill Lynch owns approximately half of BlackRock, one of the world’s largest publicly traded investment management companies, with more than $1 trillion in assets under management. For more information on Merrill Lynch, please visit www.ml.com.
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