In 2020, the Cornerstone Foundation granted $160,125 in disaster relief funds to credit union employees and volunteers in the Cornerstone region, aiding in the recovery from hurricanes, tropical storms, ice storms, house fires, and wind and hail storms. Payments from the disaster relief fund get distributed directly to those in need, so they can stabilize their lives and continue to serve their members.
The 2020 funds assisted 159 individuals, representing 22 credit unions across Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Rhonda Robichau at Assumption Beaumont Federal Credit Union faced mounting difficulties in 2020. Robichau was affected by Hurricanes Laura and Delta in 2020, and funding from the Cornerstone Foundation gave her the boost she needed to recover from her losses.
“Expenses related to our Southeast Texas natural disasters are overwhelming enough, coupled with COVID-19 striking three of our family members (myself included),” she said. “The funds not only helped us get back on our feet but also provided hope during a time in our lives when we were experiencing a great loss of hope and income.”
Jennifer Willet is a Louisiana resident who works for Beaumont, Texas-based MobilOil Federal Credit Union, only a 35-minute drive away. When Hurricane Laura made landfall near her town of Vinton, La., she was worried about the condition she would find her home in upon returning from evacuation.
“We were so blessed after evacuating to come back to a home, unlike some of our neighbors,” she said.
She did, however, experience some damage. The funding she received from the Cornerstone Foundation helped her purchase a generator and gas, which enabled her to stay in her home and continue to commute to work.
“Hurricane deductibles are so high these days, and living on a generator for weeks isn’t cheap,” said Willet. “The relief I received from the Cornerstone Foundation helped in a huge way. I’m so grateful.”
“You would think living in Southeast Texas that you’re prepared for hurricane season,” said Michaella Morales of MobilOil FCU. “But when it actually hits, you feel hopeless, lost, and stressed.” Disaster funds helped Morales purchase toiletries and food, which had spoiled in her refrigerator due to lost electricity.
“Because of the Cornerstone Foundation, I was able to feed my family even when my home was a wreck, and for that I am forever grateful,” she said.
“The Foundation has come through for me and my family during some very tough times this year,” said Jennifer Graham at MobilOil FCU. “Just knowing they were going to help take some of the burden off me after going through the two hurricanes during the pandemic helped me sleep at night.”
One way the Foundation raised money for the disaster relief fund was through its cookbook, Cooking with Cornerstone. Published during the 2020 holidays, the cookbook continues to be a popular way for the Cornerstone community to raise funds for the Foundation’s disaster relief fund.
Shatoya L. Charles at DuGood Federal Credit Union said Foundation disaster funds ease the difficulty of rebuilding after being displaced from her home.
“Not knowing if I would have enough money to replace what was lost, continue to stay afloat day by day and check by check is so difficult,” she said. “Cornerstone Foundation was able to help me in my time of need, and I am truly thankful.”
“The Cornerstone Foundation works not just to talk the talk but puts words into action and truly makes a difference,” added Robichau. “The Foundation cares about its staff, members, and community, and their actions reflect that.”
“In true ‘people helping people’ fashion, the Foundation provides a safety net to credit union staff and volunteers in times of crisis,” said Cornerstone Foundation Executive Director Courtney Moran. “We rely on the kindness and dedication of our passionate staff to get these funds to those in need, as well as the generosity of our credit union family to help us meet our fundraising goals.”
To learn more about Cornerstone Foundation’s disaster relief fund, visit the Foundation website. To learn more about Cooking with Cornerstone and how to donate to the disaster relief fund, please visit the Foundation’s fundraising page.
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