In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy battered the east coast of the United States, causing billions of dollars in damage across 24 states. The hurricane quickly became known in the impacted region as “Superstorm Sandy.”
Shileen Shaw knows firsthand how the storm got that name.
“We had never seen anything like it,” says Shaw, recalling the damage her East Orange, New Jersey, home suffered at the time.
Shaw’s home lost electricity for weeks and its roof endured severe damage due to Sandy’s fierce wind and rain. In addition to addressing the structural damage, Shaw faced even more pressing issues.
“I wasn't getting paid that week. We were going to lose all the food we just bought. We didn’t know what we were going to do,” she says. “Even though Sandy was six years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday.”
Fortunately, she had an idea of where to turn for help.
Shaw has been a member of Local 2298 (AFSCME New Jersey) for more than 20 years. She works at a branch of the Newark Public Library. Thanks to her union membership, she has also been a proud Union Plus Credit Cardholder1 since 2007, which proved especially handy when she was seeking financial relief in the aftermath of the hurricane.
“I was looking at all the benefits of the Union Plus Credit Card and saw that if you have a hardship, you could [apply for] a grant. I thought, ‘I'm just gonna try it,’” says Shaw.
Through a quick phone call, Shaw found out she was eligible for the Union Plus Disaster Relief Grant2 – a $500 cash grant that does not have to be repaid. The Union Plus Disaster Relief Grant provides financial assistance to eligible Union Plus Credit Cardholders facing hardship following a natural disaster.
“I applied for the grant and I got the check within days,” Shaw recounts. “The $500 came at the right time. I just thank Union Plus for that because I don't even know how we were going get by for those next days or weeks after the storm. When you don't have anything, and the electricity is still out, $500 is a lot of money.”
She continues, “I wasn't able to get help from my insurance company until months after the storm. The grant that I received from just having the Union Plus Credit Card was a really big help to me and my family. I am just so grateful for it and I didn't have to pay anything back.”
To be considered for a Union Plus Disaster Relief Grant, union members must have had a Union Plus Credit Card for at least three months. Union members without a Union Plus Credit Card may be eligible for a Disaster Relief Grant if they have held a Union Plus mortgage or insurance policy for at least 12 months or have participated in the Union Plus Personal Loan Program for at least six months. For more information, visit unionplus.org/disaster.
1 Union Plus Credit Cards are issued by Capital One, N.A. pursuant to a license by Mastercard International Incorporated. Credit approval required. Terms and conditions apply.
2 Certain restrictions, limitations and qualifications apply to these grants. Additional information and eligibility criteria can be obtained at https://www.unionplus.org/hardship-help/disaster-relief-grants.