The national fundraising by credit unions and their members to help victims of the Japanese disaster turned Monday to shoe collection and the sale of print art.
In Lafayette, La., the $40 million University of Louisiana FCU has collected more than 50 pairs of shoes so far for shipment to Japan in a campaign it launched locally among businesses that has since spread elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the $154 million Peninsula CU of Shelton, Wash. said it was “astounded” at the member response to the sale of print art of a rendering of a Japanese coastal community heavily damaged in the tsunami. The sketch, drawn by a Port Orchard, Wash. artist showed the community before it suffered destruction.
“Our staff has been terribly saddened and moved by the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan and some of them and their members have friends and family in Japan who are facing tremendous challenges,” said a Peninsula statement.
“In an effort to assist the ongoing rescue, cleanup and humanitarian efforts,” Peninsula CU accepted an offer of a CU member, Yoshiko Yamamoto, to display the commemorative block prints in the branches in hopes that “it will inspire the public to donate to EMPACT Northwest,” a local group involved in the relief effort.
Donations of $30 or more made to EMPACT Northwest receive the 7 1/2″ x 10 1/2″ inch limited edition print depicting Matsushima Bay on the Northwest coast of Japan prior to the tsunami. So far $15,000 has been raised and the initial batch of 500 prints has been sold out.
Melanie Riedl, director of marketing at University of Louisiana FCU, said the collection of shoes donated by employees and members fits a need as put forward by Soles4Souls, an Old Hickory, Tenn. charity which collects shoes for people in extreme poverty or global disasters. Soles4Souls has collected shoes for individuals in Haiti, Southeast Asia, New Orleans and Africa, according to its website; www.giveshoes.org.