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League on site at disaster location more funds needed
FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (9/25/08)--The Texas Credit Union League is on site visiting credit unions in the East Texas coastal region ravaged by Hurricane Ike Sept. 13. League President/CEO Dick Ensweiler and a small team began touring the area Wednesday and will be there through Friday, according to Rick Grady, vice president of marketing, public relations and communications for the league. Today the group will visit members south and east of downtown Houston. Friday the team will visit on the west and north sides of downtown Houston. Return visits are being planned so the league's management team can address issues facing members, Grady said. The league's field team will remain in the area indefinitely, assisting members with rebuilding.
A trailer load of peanut butter--2,223 pounds of it--donated by Security Service FCU, San Antonio, is headed for ongoing disaster relief in Texas. The credit union presented the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Inc. with peanut butter collected at its South Texas branches. From left: Julie Balboa, assistant vice president of the credit union's South Texas District; Brian Epps. Food Bank RGV board members and credit union business development manager; Terri Drefke, Food Bank RGV executive director; Jim Bounds, credit union director of business development in South Texas; and Crystal Gomez, branch manager, Aransas Pass branch. (Photo provided by Security Service FCU)
The Texas Credit Union Foundation continues to receive large donations, which are being disbursed immediately to hundreds of applicants requesting assistance in the area. More than $135,000 in contributions was received as of Wednesday morning, and the foundation made $120,000 in grants to 247 individual applicants. The foundation said it has averaged 10 requests an hour since the process began, with the pace rapidly building. It indicated that additional donations will be needed. At sunup Wednesday, Galveston Island and the city of Galveston were permitting residents to return. Officials warned that the island remains a devastated place with few trappings of civilization and many serious health hazards. However, I-45 had a line of cars for 14 miles waiting for the reopening. It is estimated that 75% of homes will be uninhabitable. The African American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) announced Wednesday it was donating $1,000 in response to the devastation and challenged credit unions, credit union organizations and leagues to "step up to the plate and contribute funds for the Texas recovery process." AACUC Chairperson Barbara Stephens, president/CEO of Houston Municipal Employees FCU, said the Texas league "has always offered a warm welcome to the AACUC. AACUC would like to extend a helping hand in return as they begin to rebuild their credit unions, homes and communities." Credit unions were creative in their donations as well. Security Service FCU, based in San Antonio, donated a trailer load of peanut butter, or 2,223 pounds, for ongoing disaster relief to a local food bank.


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