MADISON, Wis., and WASHINGTON (1/21/10)--An aftershock that measured 6.1 magnitude rattled Haiti Wednesday morning, adding to the challenges of getting relief to more than three million people, including members of the country's 175 credit unions affected by the Jan. 12 earthquake. Credit unions around the world and their affiliated organizations and service providers have rallied to contribute to the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions' credit union disaster relief fund to assist the 404,090 credit union members in Haiti. In the U.S., the contributions are funneled through the National Credit Union Foundation's (NCUF) CUAid disaster fund via CUAid.coop. Combined contributions from the movement continued to climb Wednesday to $287,121, said Valerie Breunig, executive director of the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, the charitable arm of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). Of that amount, $161,031 was collected through CUAid.coop, said Jill Stevenson of NCUF's marketing and communications department. Of the funds collected through CUAid, 100% will go to credit unions and their employees, volunteers and members affected by the disaster. Those contributions are also tax-deductible. Breunig noted Wednesday she saw contributions from several credit unions and vendors such as Callahan's. National leagues from Canada, Australia and the Caribbean are coordinating fundraising campaigns in their countries as well. WOCCU did not provide a live dispatch Wednesday from its 16-person staff based in Haiti for its three-year project that began last July. WOCCU had received daily dispatches from the team leader. Communications are sporadic, and WOCCU's disaster relief team had arrived Tuesday with supplies to disburse. The statistics in Haiti are staggering. Three million Haitians--one-third of the country's population--were still needing food, water, shelter and medical assistance a week after the earthquake. At least 72,000 people were confirmed dead, and the toll was climbing. "This devastating earthquake has left the people of Haiti in dire need," said Rudy Hanley, president/CEO of SchoolsFirst FCU, Santa Ana, Calif., on announcing that the credit union had made a $25,000 donation to assist with relief efforts via NCUF's CUAid fund. Charlotte Metro FCU is donating $10,000 because, said President/CEO Bob Bruns, "The credit union philosophy is based on people helping people. And this is a time when the people of Charlotte Metro have an opportunity to reach out to the people affected by this terrible disaster." The League of Southeastern Credit Unions' Foundation, which serves Florida and Alabama credit unions, donated $10,000 toward the recovery, saying there are 350,000 Haitians living in the Southeast U.S. The need for credit unions and their members to take the lead in helping Haiti through this tragedy is imperative, said the league. "The pictures and stories coming out of the country are heartbreaking. These donations are small steps in helping the country recover and keep the flow of supplies strong," said LSCU President/CEO Patrick LaPine. Pennsylvania Credit Union Association and its service subsidiary, Pacul Services Inc., and the Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation (PCUF) announced they had contributed a combined $4,000 (Life is a Highway
Jan. 20). Joe Wambach, executive director of the PCUF, remained in close contact with WOCCU officials during the weekend. Wambach has experience working with Care International in Haiti for several years in the past. He helped provide guidance about distributing funds related to WOCCU's three-step recovery program. No stranger to adversity caused by nature, the Louisiana Credit Union League encouraged its member credit unions to "answer this international call of action" in its newsletter (eNews
Jan. 20). "As evidenced during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, this type of immediate, timely, and generous response is a natural effect of the credit union philosophy," said the league. "Credit unions around the world provided immediate support in our time of need and contributed to our rebuilding efforts. Now, we encourage you to give back to those who seek the same assistance as we once did." To support Haiti's credit unions and members through the international credit union disaster fund, make payments, via check, credit card or wire to: Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions Inc., 5710 Mineral Point Road, Madison, WI 53705, USA. Donations also can be made online with a credit card at www.woccu.org/give. For wire transfer information, contact Valerie Breunig, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions at 608-395-2055 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
. Please indicate the donation is designated for the Haiti Disaster Relief Fund. U.S. credit unions also can support WOCCU's relief efforts by donating through the NCUF at www.CUAID.coop.