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CUs Rallying To Raise Funds For Tornado Victims
MADISON, Wis. (5/28/13)--While Oklahoma credit unions and staff, volunteers and members try to rebuild their lives after last week's tornados in Moore and Shawnee, credit unions around the country are doing what they do best: putting the cooperative, people helping people philosophy in action.

Many credit unions and state-level credit union foundations are working to collect funds to assist in the recovery. Foundations from other states are approving contributions for the recovery to assist the Oklahoma Credit Union Foundation in helping roughly 26-30 employees who have so far reported damages or have lost their homes.

The Louisiana Credit Union Foundation told Louisiana credit unions it made a donation on their behalf and would continue to work with Oklahoma's foundation (eNews May 22).

The Ohio Credit Union Foundation announced it had approved a $5,000 grant to assist.  "We know the need by our credit union friends in Oklahoma is great," said Stan Barnes, chair of the OCUF Board of Trustees. "The images from the scene are heartbreaking. It is the hope of the (Ohio) foundation that this contribution can help in the recovery process, and assist with the immediate needs of credit union members and staff impacted by this tragedy."

Those wishing to donate funds to assist credit union people in Oklahoma should make checks payable to the Oklahoma Credit Union Foundation, mark them designated for the Tornado Disaster Relief Fund and send to:

Credit Union Association of Oklahoma

631 E. Hill Street

Oklahoma City, OK 73105

For more information, contact Carrie Buchholz at 405-702-8622, ext. 215 or at carrie@cuaok.org.

The Texas Credit Union Foundation also is taking online donations and assisting the Oklahoma foundation in its disaster relief grant process.

Several credit unions have announced they are raising funds for victims.  Meritrust CU in Wichita, Kan., said last week it was delivering a corporate donation totaling $10,000 to the Oklahoma Credit Union Foundation this past Friday.

"Standing back and not helping our neighbors who are suffering in Oklahoma was not an option," said James Nastars, president/CEO of the $860 million asset Meritrust. "It's times like these when we all need to rally together. These donations from our members, staff and board of directors are coupled with our thoughts and prayers," he said.

The credit union's branches became donation sites for needed supplies, including water, baby formula, diapers, wet wipes, non-perishable food, pet food, paper towels, blankets, flashlights and batteries. Meritrust expected to deliver those Friday to the Credit Union House in Oklahoma City, where the Oklahoma foundation will distribute the items.

Clear across the country, Focal Point FCU, a $46.4 million asset credit union in Syracuse, N.Y.,   set up a relief fund and invited members and the community to make donations to be sent to the Oklahoma foundation. (Syracuse.com May 24).

It said it was prompted to assist after seeing photos posted by Tinker FCU of its destroyed Moore branch on its Facebook page. The branch's safe deposit box vault--with 22 people hunkered inside--was the only thing still standing after the storm. That story made headlines across the nation.

Focal Point's branches in Syracuse, Chittenango and Canandaigua are raising money for the victims. "Credit unions have a unique kinship so, for us, it's one of our own that is in trouble," said FocalPoint CEO Marilyn Marra-Crolick in a press release.
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