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CU System
Mississippi CUs raise 13000 for tornado victims
YAZOO CITY, Miss. (5/3/10)--Mississippi credit unions have raised $13,000 and counting for victims of a tornado that destroyed homes and killed 12 individuals in the state on April 24. “I was in tears when I saw the response,” said Dawn Parks, CEO of BenchSmart CU, Yazoo City. Yazoo City was hit hardest by the storm. Parks had asked credit unions using the Mississippi Credit Union Association’s (MSCUA) listserv to help the storm victims. After the message, donations began pouring in from credit unions around the state. Parks and her staff are shopping, assembling and delivering care baskets containing personal care items for individuals who lost their homes or suffered severe damages as a result of the storm. She said she was passing out the baskets as fast as she could Friday before more storms were scheduled to hit the area last weekend. “People have lost their homes and cars, and they can’t get to the [American] Red Cross,” Parks said. “Their faces turn white when we pull up [with the baskets].” So far, BenchSmart has delivered about 60 baskets, and hopes to deliver another 60 this week, depending on funds. Parks said she anticipates her staff will continue shopping for, filling and delivering the baskets every day this week. “It’s going great so far,” Parks said. “We’ve also had a few board members come and volunteer.” Parks said it’s important to her that credit union representatives deliver the baskets. “We wanted them to be touched by a credit union employee,” she said. It’s unknown how many BenchSmart members suffered damage to their homes, but Parks said she hopes to have a count next week. The credit union did not suffer any damages, and neither did credit union staff. “We were all blessed, which made us capable to help others,” she said. “It’s been an awesome, humbling experience.”
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