A People-Helping-People Appeal To CUs

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This letter is to ask for help for one particular group of residents in Tuscaloosa, Ala., who have been hit particularly hard by the recent tornadoes. Corporate America CU has already generously agreed to match all donations dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000.

I know the storm devastated many communities in Alabama and the South. But since I am in Tuscaloosa, this is where I am starting. I do not expect CUs from other affected areas to participate. These credit unions have their hands full already.

Rosedale Court is a Tuscaloosa Housing Authority-managed group of apartments that were destroyed. THA is handling relocating Rosedale residents. However, the residents have lost all their personal possessions. While the Tuscaloosa area has received generous donations of food and clothes, donations of furniture, appliances, pots, pans, etc. are few.

A Special Cooperative

I have learned that 46 of the families have been "adopted" by a local church. Volunteers have obtained furnishings and decorated these homes. I liked what the church was doing so I contacted them about facilitating a cooperative in which CUs can adopt some of these families.

Cost for each family is about $5,000. Furnishings include a couch, bedding, kitchen table and chairs, microwave, plates, pots, pans eating utensils, TV, end table, coffee table, bathroom/shower supplies.

There are so many people and so many enormous needs in Tuscaloosa that helping can feel like throwing darts at a dartboard blind-folded. I like this idea for two reasons: 1) We know who we are dealing with and what the project entails; 2) The project has a definite beginning and ending point. There will be no lingering obligation and no wondering what happened with a contribution. I will even provide photos of the home of each adopted family.

I am seeking to know how many CUs would participate in this project by making a cash donation. I am sure offers to donate furnishings would be accepted but offers would need to include delivery of items. Right now I am just polling to see what interest there may be. If interest level is high enough, I will then set up a channel for receiving and distributing the support.

Here is a reminder, and a couple of promises:

• Corporate America Credit Union has committed to support this project. Corporate America will match donations dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000.

Promise No. 1: I will see that 100% of all donations make it to the intended recipients.

Promise No. 2: I expect that some of these residents will not make great "poster children" for this project. Many of them have never set foot in a credit union. The only promise I can make is that they are homeless.

Time is critical. Please let me know if you are willing to contribute. Your CU has the opportunity to help a family turn a disaster into a new beginning. I can be contacted at tcobb@tuscaloosacu.org.

Tommy Cobb, CEO
Tuscaloosa Credit Union, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

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