By Cheryl HarrisonJune 19, 2008
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas --- A permanent change of station move is stressful enough without the frustration of attempting to keep things normal.
The dilemma of how to prepare a meal or get a uniform pressed when every possession is piled in a moving van, packed in one of many boxes, is a headache the Army Community Service Relocation Program wants to help eliminate.
The Relocation Assistance Program is a congressionally mandated program designed to eliminate or diminish the personal and Family stress that military Families experience with a PCS by providing assistance, counseling, education and training throughout all phases of the relocation process.
Included in the program is the Lending Closet, which provides temporary loans of household items to unaccompanied Family members with orders (first priority,) students and TDY personnel (second priority), and retirees and civilians (third priority) assigned to the area if stock is adequate. The primary purpose is to assist Families by providing them with essentials that will allow them to get by until their shipment arrives at the new location.
Families of two members and up are loaned packs containing dishes, glasses, can opener, pots and pans, utensils, and cooking and baking items. ID cards or orders must be presented before dish packs are loaned.
Items are loaned for a 30-day period, but extensions may be granted to personnel on PCS moves if the Transportation Division verifies that household goods have not arrived.
"We have enough to provide supplies that will accommodate about 100 Families," said Jai Bell, relocation assistant.
With three full-time employees and one part-time volunteer, relocation stays busy helping Families in the midst of a relocation.
The Lending Closet also receives help of its own from outside companies.
On June 3, the Lending Closet received 10 new Costco infant car seats from the Government Employees Insurance Company.
"Since 1985 GEICO has donated about 10,000 car seats nationwide for use by military Families throughout the Department of Defense," said Dempsey Ballard, GEICO representative. "We like to help with baby's first ride home."
Infant and toddlers with parents stationed at Fort Sam Houston will be assured of safer automobile travel because of the generous gift from GEICO. Soldiers are informed about the baby items available at the Lending Closet during in and out processing.
The Lending Closet also has futons, ironing boards and irons, toasters, coffee makers, highchairs, pack and plays, and strollers, as well as car seats for the little ones.
Relocation is a way of life in the military and it can be stressful.
The Relocation Assistance Program is the first point of contact for relocation information and assistance. People can get up-to-date information about their new installation and community before the move, learn how to prepare for a move, get help in planning for moving costs, and learn how to reduce the stress of moving.