As announced at the 2018 NALC Convention in Detroit, the union has established the NALC Disaster Relief Foundation to alleviate the suffering of members affected by natural disasters, including earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and wildfires.
The foundation was created to fill a need identified by many branches in the face of the disasters last year, including the wildfires that ravaged northern and southern California, as well as the hurricanes that swept through South Texas, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Florida Keys.
“Branches wanted to know where they could send desperately needed supplies and money, but there wasn’t a central location,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “That’s why we created this foundation, to reflect the will of the members and make it easy for them to help others in need quickly and efficiently.”
The foundation has been set up to function in two ways: by providing hands-on relief and by receiving donations as a means to offer financial grants.
NALC is in the process of creating response teams throughout the country. People on the teams will receive disaster relief training from charitable organizations and government agencies, including the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Foundation volunteers recently were activated to go to North Carolina to help letter carriers recover from the destruction wrought by Hurricane Florence. They offered physical assistance—helping to remove water-logged furniture and tear out soaked drywall—as well as emotional assistance for individuals who had been overwhelmed by the aftermath.
Additionally, basic supplies, including uniforms and food, will be available for those who need them in the future.
The foundation also will provide financial support through grants. Any NALC member who has faced hardship as a result of a natural disaster will be able to apply for assistance. The foundation’s board of directors will consider the hardship applications and will issue grants on an objective basis to eligible individuals as funds are available. Job performance or history of donations to the foundation will not be considered as part of the selection process. The Application for Relief Grant (for NALC Members only) is available here.
The foundation is applying for 501(c)(3) status to allow people who donate to the fund to write off the donations from their taxes. Anyone who would like to make a donation now may send a check or money order to the address below. The union is working on accepting donations through credit cards and electronic funds transfer (EFT) online.
It is anticipated that financial support for the foundation will be provided by NALC, branch fundraising events, donations from members and donations from corporate sponsors.
Any member wishing to be a potential Disaster Relief Foundation volunteer should send a note about his or her interest to the address below.
“We hope that the foundation will become an invaluable lifeline for our sisters and brothers in need, in the true spirit of solidarity,” Rolando said.
NALC Disaster Relief Foundation
100 Indiana Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001-2144.
Relief grants are only considered for property damage sustained to a “primary residence,” auto or personal property, such as but not limited to, a hurricane, flood, tornado, wildfire, earthquake or severe storm. Members do NOT have to wait for emergency relief or insurance claims to be settled for documents to be considered proper in order to apply. All members having been temporarily displaced from their primary residence because the residence is “uninhabitable” MUST submit a signed, personal narrative detailing the specific reasons for the displacement and the anticipated duration of the displacement.