WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 28, 2014) -- This year's Combined Federal Campaign contributions for the entire Department of Defense are 85 percent ahead of last year's pace at this time in the drive, said a CFC loaned executive.

While 85 percent seems high, the goal of $11.3 million is just 30 percent attained, said Pete Rossi, who was at the Pentagon last week with other volunteers raising awareness and ginning up interest with a bake sale.

People tend to put off contributing until near the end of the campaign, which this year goes from Sept. 1 to Dec. 15, he said. "I think there will be a strong finish this year."

The low contributions last year, Rossi said, were almost certainly the result of sequestration and furloughs, something that fortunately didn't occur this year.

CFC is encouraging people to go online to donate.

There are a number of reasons to donate online said Giselle Whitfield, a DOD-loaned executive from the Army Acquisition Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

First, donations can be done at home or any place with Internet access, she said.

Second, the online catalog lists 25,000 charitable organizations, as opposed to just 4,000 in the print catalog.

Third, personal information is more secure online than by paper, she said, explaining that a person's social security number is more protected online than on paper, which someone has to carry around and then enter online anyway.

The DOD is moving away from paper enrollment, and by 2016, that will be the only way to enroll, she said, noting that this year and next are transition years away from paper.

To enroll online, Whitfield said, go to MyPay, which has step-by-step instructions, accessed by clicking on the CFC link under the Pay Changes category on the main page.

Not everyone likes to do things online, she admitted, relating that at a visit to a certain unit, there were a lot of older people who just preferred paper. The long transition away from paper will be used to persuade and assist people like them to go online.

Every DOD unit has a CFC campaign manager who is designated to assist anyone needing help in contributing. Also, each command runs its own CFC campaign, and many have found really creative and fun ways to get people to contribute, she said.

The Pentagon bake sale was mostly cookies and cupcakes, comfort food Rossi said he was trying to avoid overindulging in. His next CFC campaign stop, he said, is a healthy eating demo where there will be fresh fruits and vegetables. Something he's really looking forward to.

Besides pastries, a representative and his pooch from paws4vets -- a CFC charity -- was at the Pentagon CFC drive, as well as Marine Sgt. Liz Medina, the winner of National Miss Virginia 2015.

Medina was there to promote Catch A Lift and Toys for Tots, two CFC charities. Catch a Lift pays gym memberships for wounded veterans or provides in-home gym equipment if a veteran is unable to travel to a gym.

Medina served in Afghanistan. In 2010, she was involved in a vehicle accident and sustained traumatic brain injury. Her talent for winning National Miss Virginia was poetry.

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