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With at least 150 credit union employees still displaced by Hurricane Katrina, the National Credit Union Foundation is offering larger grants during phase II of the grant process. Meanwhile, the Louisiana League is asking credit unions to consider "adopting" some of these employees during the upcoming holiday season.

NCUF released an estimated additional $1 million in relief funds to CU employees in Louisiana and Mississippi earlier this month, bringing the total disbursements to date to more than $2 million since Katrina struck on Aug. 29.

"Thanks to the generosity of everyone contributing to the NCUF Disaster Relief Fund, we are now in a position to help credit union employees deal with losses that go far beyond the immediate aftermath," said NCUF Executive Director Steve Delfin. "Working with our league partners on the Gulf Coast, we have developed a process to efficiently disburse larger grants to those who still face serious needs."

The Louisiana and Mississippi leagues are assessing the ongoing needs of hundreds of credit union employees. "Phase II" grants are being awarded to individuals based on three categories of needs: "Serious"-$1,500; "Very Serious"-$2,500; "Critical"-$3,500. The most critical cases may be revisited for additional grants if further funding is available.

In the two months since Hurricane Katrina, NCUF has raised more than $2.5 million for disaster relief. After the Phase II grants, the fund will be drawn down to about $400,000, and NCUF pledged that every dollar raised will continue to be used for disaster relief benefiting credit union organizations and their employees.

With the holidays right around the corner, those people still displaced by the hurricane likely will not "be home for Christmas," so the Louisiana CU League is urging credit unions to adopt those CU employees for the holidays.

"The season of Christmas is a time spent with loved ones-family and friends, a time for spiritual reflection and giving thanks and celebrating the birth of Christ with those dear to us," the league said. "This year, because of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the season will not be the same for many credit union employees who were severely impacted by these tragedies. Over 150 credit union employees in the area were devastated by Katrina, losing everything or sustaining severe damage to their homes."

How To Help

To "adopt" a Katrina victim during the holidays, visit www.lcul.org, or contact Carolyn Ricks at cricks lcul.com, or 800-452-7221, ext. 3013.

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