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CUs providing more flood relief to thousands of CU people
MADISON, Wis. (9/14/11)--Credit unions are rallying to help thousands of credit union employees and members impacted by the flooding in the North East since Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee unleashed a series of storms in the region this month. So far, about $21,000 has been raised through the credit union movement's disaster relief site,, said Christopher Morris, director of communications at the National Credit Union Foundation. The New York Credit Union Foundation, the charitable arm of the Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY), announced Tuesday it has launched a Disaster Relief Fund to help credit union people in its state. "We know that nearly 1,000 credit union employees and nearly 300,000 members live and work in the most impacted areas of the Southern Tier, creating a potentially significant need for financial assistance," said William J. Mellin, CUANY president/CEO. The Southern Tier of the state was underwater for days, said CUANY.
Click to view larger imageAn Empower FCU employee looks down the street at its Johnson City branch, which ultimately was four to five feet underwater.
Click to view larger imageInside an office at Empower FCU's Johnson City branch after flood waters receded. (Photos provided by the Credit Union Association of New York)
Many staff of Endicott, N.Y.-based Visions FCU have lost their homes, according to early reports from the $2.7 billion asset credit union. Albany, N.Y.-based, $2.27 billion asset SEFCU CEO Michael Castellana told the league that while its branches in the Southern Tier were not significantly damaged, the same could not be said for the residences of a number of staff who experienced severe property damage. "I cannot encourage everyone enough to support this fund," said Mellin."Even the smallest donation adds up to support our credit union family, which is still reeling from the devastation." The goal is to raise as much as possible by Sept. 23 to ensure timely distribution. For more information, use the links. In another state that experienced severe flooding, the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) board of directors approved funds for the Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation to assist flood victims. Joe Wambach, executive director of the foundation, is in the process of surveying credit union damage, PCUA said (Life is a Highway Sept. 13). PCUA also donated $3,000 to CUAid, based on $1,000 donations from the association, from Pacul Services Inc., and the state foundation, to help victims of Hurricane Irene. PCUA, which was forced to close Friday because of flooding of the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg, was expecting full phone and fax service to be restored to its headquarters Tuesday afternoon. Credit unions in the state also were collecting items to help. Tobyhanna FCU, Scranton, is collecting cleaning items at its Scranton and Wilkes-Barre offices for the American Red Cross. UFCW FCU, Wyoming, said its branches are collecting cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items and bottled water as well as holding a Hat, Mitten and Coat Drive for flood victims in the Wyoming Valley area (Life is a Highway Sept. 13). In New Hampshire, Gov. John Lynch Monday accepted a $125,000 donation from Portsmouth-based Service Credit Union on behalf of the New Hampshire Disaster Relief Fund 2011. In his thank you message, Lynch said, "Since I have been governor, New Hampshire has experienced several natural disasters and each time Service CU has led the way in reaching out to help its neighbors" (Targeted News Service Sept. 12). In Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Credit Union League presented $70,000 to the American Red Cross for disaster relief in that state. "Nobody does what the Red Cross does and nowhere near as well. Their ability to respond during a disaster and come out and try to make people's lives whole when they are in the midst of tremendous suffering is just unique," said Rob Kimmett, senior vice president of public relations and marketing at the league. The league raised the funds through its "hope initiative." Credit unions wanting to help credit union staff, volunteers and members in the disaster areas, can give directly through CUAid, or through their state-level credit union foundation. Use the links.
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