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Wednesday, December 24, 2003
Aliant Pioneer Volunteers make huge contribution to Atlantic Canadian communities


Atlantic Canada - Over the last 60-plus years, the Aliant Pioneer Volunteers have donated hundreds of thousands of hours of volunteerism and millions of dollars to Atlantic Canadian charities such as local food banks, the Christmas Daddies Telethon, Operation Christmas Child and various gift projects for less fortunate children. Recently, they have been going above and beyond to ensure the holiday season is joyous for all.

"Christmas is a very special time of year and everyone is in the spirit of giving. It's wonderful to know that our Aliant Pioneer Volunteers play a major role in donating to the community during the holiday season," says Michael Sears, Manager, Aliant Pioneer Volunteers. "All four Atlantic Canadian provinces have done numerous projects individually and together to help less fortunate families at Christmas."

Newfoundland and Labrador's Aliant Pioneer Volunteers have several initiatives over the Christmas season. In St. John's, there is a Christmas stocking campaign where hundreds of stockings are filled by Aliant Pioneer Volunteers and employees and are given out to children across the Province. On Christmas Eve, there is a Christmas celebration at Aliant’s Fort William Building in St John’s. During this time financial and in-kind donations are presented to various organizations totaling $75,000. Similar presentations are made throughout the Province.

In New Brunswick communities such as Saint John, the Aliant Pioneer Volunteers are involved in their annual Christmas stocking project where they give food, presents and household items to families in need. In Fredericton, the volunteers are involved in a program called "Santa Sacks" and fill bags with items for children. The Aliant Pioneer Volunteers in Moncton partner with other organizations and prepare "Shoe Boxes" whereby thousands of these boxes are filled and sent overseas where the Canadian forces distribute them to needy children who would otherwise have nothing to open on Christmas Day. Many other areas gather food for local food banks and make financial contributions to local organizations.

In Halifax, the Aliant Pioneer Volunteers make comfort bags for the homeless with toques, gloves, socks, juice, fruit and snacks. The Aliant Pioneer Volunteers provide an annual party for Bryony House transition house and provide not only a meal, but hundreds of gifts to women and children. Almost 300 volunteers assisted in the Christmas Daddies Telethon to help make Christmas brighter for over 10,000 Maritime children. Sydney makes Santa Bags to distribute to senior citizen homes in the area. In Digby and Kentville, the Aliant Pioneer Volunteers adopt families and provide gifts for Christmas and Bridgewater, New Glasgow, Amherst and support various organizations with financial donations.

The Aliant Pioneer Volunteers in Prince Edward Island's annual food drive project, involves employees and retirees gathering food and money for local food banks. They also make financial donations to various charities.

In addition to these projects, the Aliant Pioneer Volunteers in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island team up to assist the IWK. This endeavor is "Cards for Kids", where Aliant Pioneer Volunteers donate greeting cards, books and other small gifts to the IWK Children's hospital. Healthcare professionals distribute these items to children who may not have a family member with them over the holidays.

"The Cards for Kids Program helps make Christmas a bit brighter for the hundreds of children who will spend Christmas in hospital. This year, our Aliant Pioneer volunteers contributed hundreds of cards and small gifts for the Kids Program," says Mr. Sears. "This is the second year for this project – and we, again, are overwhelmed with the generosity of our employees and retirees."

In addition to the gift giving, the Aliant Pioneer Volunteers held their annual pre-Christmas food drive in November and gathered almost 10,000 items that were distributed to food banks around Atlantic Canada. This was the third year for this project called “Soup it UP.”

About the Aliant Pioneer Volunteers
The Aliant Pioneer Volunteers, who currently number close to 8,000 members, can be found working in virtually every community across Atlantic Canada. Membership is made up of current and former employees of Aliant and its predecessor companies. The Aliant Pioneer Volunteers' main focus is to support education and technology and Internet-related projects within their communities. However, over the past nine decades, they have also assisted a wide variety of community service efforts – lending their energetic and innovative volunteer workforce at a moments notice.

In the past year alone, the Aliant Pioneer Volunteers have raised more than $500,000 and contributed over 166,000 volunteer hours to worthy efforts right here in Atlantic Canada.
The Aliant Pioneer Volunteers are part of the TelecomPioneer Association, the world's largest corporate volunteer organization that boasts almost 750,000 volunteers worldwide and contributes more than 18 million volunteer hours annually.

About Aliant
From its home base in Atlantic Canada, Aliant delivers a wide variety of innovative and traditional communications services, including local and long-distance telephony, wireless, Internet, e-commerce, interactive multimedia, data and managed network services, to more than two million consumers and over 80,000 enterprises. Aliant complements its industry-leading telecommunications business with strengths in advanced systems and technology solutions, mobile and remote communications, and knowledge-services applications. The company's more than 9,100 employees build on Aliant's 100-plus year history by collaborating to deliver the highest quality of customer service, choice and convenience. Aliant is a TSX 100 company with a market capitalization of more than $4 billion. More information about Aliant (TSX:AIT) may be found by visiting www.aliant.ca.

For more information about the Aliant Pioneer Volunteers, please visit www.aliant.ca/pioneers or contact:

Michael Sears
Manager – Aliant Pioneer Volunteers
902-483-4107

Lynn Coveyduck (for French)
902-487-5653

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