As the Irene cleanup and relief efforts continued in hard-hit and isolated communities in Vermont and New Jersey, the National Credit Union Foundation on Wednesday activated its online disaster relief system to raise funds for CU personnel affected by the catastrophic weekend storm.
“We encourage credit union leaders all across the country to use CUAid.coop as a channel to collect donations from their employees, volunteers and members,” said NCUF Executive Director Bucky Sebastian. “Everyone who supports CUAid is helping affected credit union people directly with critical needs, longer-term recovery needs, operational needs and assisting credit union members.”
Under CUAid, CU supporters can make donations through a secured website that accepts credit cards and wire transfers.
In New Jersey, the president/CEO of the New Jersey Credit Union League, Paul Gentile, stressed that rivers in his state have crested after washing out towns and causing widespread damage.
“Thousands of people are displaced and struggling just to get their bare necessities,” Gentile said. “I am thrilled CUAid is being activated. Joining together cooperatively to help those in need is the heart and soul of the credit union movement.”
NCUF said so far in 2011 the foundation has raised more than $250,000 in disaster relief funds disbursed to victims from the Alabama and Joplin, Mo. tornadoes and flooding in North Dakota and along the Mississippi.
In Vermont, meanwhile, Vermont State Employees CU of Montpelier said Wednesday its Waterbury branch is closed indefinitely. Located in a state office building that’s now under water, equipment, furnishings and ATMs in the three-employee branch “are obviously lost,” a spokesman said.
Within the last two weeks festive grand opening ceremonies for new branches were held by both the $28 million White River CU of Randolph and the $270 million Heritage Family CU of Rutland only to see the facilities shuttered this week as result of washed out roads.
White River, still without phone service in stranded towns, reportedly had two of its branches in Rochester and Bethel made inaccessible due to extensive road damage and power outages.