REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- With the stroke of a pen, the annual Army Emergency Relief campaign is officially under way at Redstone.

Garrison commander Col. Bill Marks and Command Sgt. Maj. Kyle Crump kicked off the fundraising drive by signing their AER allotment forms Feb. 18. The AER campaign is scheduled March 1 through May 15 with the theme "Keys to Success."

"It's a great program putting resources behind our Soldiers that need it the most," Marks said.

AER provides loans or grants to military families faced with financial emergencies. Crump said many people may not be aware of the scholarships AER provides to children and spouses of active duty, retired and deceased Soldiers.

Army Emergency Relief maintains two scholarship programs -- the Spouse Education Assistance Program and the Maj. Gen. James Ursano Scholarship Program for dependent children. Both scholarships provide financial assistance for students who are pursuing their first undergraduate degree. Scholarship award amounts are not guaranteed and vary each year based on the total number of applicants in each program and budget amount allotted to the scholarship programs. For 2014-15 scholarship application information, email or call (703) 428-0000.

Last year Army Emergency Relief provided about 200 loans or grants, totaling around $170,000, to members of the Redstone community.

AER will receive the proceeds from the hockey jersey auction at the Huntsville Havoc's annual "Military Appreciation Night" on Saturday at 7:30 at the Von Braun Center. After the night's game in which the Havoc faces the Fayetteville FireAntz, the Havoc players' jerseys will be auctioned. Last year's auction raised about $14,700 for AER.

"This year they're going to sell 24 jerseys," Chanley Pickard, the AER campaign coordinator, said.

The second annual AER 5K run/walk is March 28 at 7:30 a.m. at the Exchange/Commissary parking lot. Preregister through March 13 for $15 at the fitness facilities. Race day registration is $20.