SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- The U.S. Army Hawaii community is cordially invited to attend the Army Emergency Relief annual fundraising campaign kickoff hosted by U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, March 4.

The event will begin at 4:15 p.m. at the Nehelani Banquet and Conference Center, here. Right Arm Night will immediately follow, so its attendees are invited to join the kickoff, too.

USAG-HI will also host refreshments with live music prior to the kickoff from 3:15-3:45 p.m. at the same location where attendance is encouraged as a sign of support for AER.

Donation-based program

As a private nonprofit agency, AER is funded solely by the generous donations from Soldiers and the community.

AER does not receive donations through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), but through its annual fundraising campaign, which runs this year through May 15.

The AER office, here, is the only AER office on Oahu, and as such is responsible to assist all Soldiers, retirees and their family members on the island.

In 2015, this office collected $301,000 in donations, but distributed over $2.1 million dollars in loans and grants to over 1,200 Soldiers and family members.

AER was established in 1942 by Soldiers for Soldiers in response to the financial demands of the World War. That's why it's referred to as "Soldiers Helping Soldiers."

Today, financial demands continue to press our Soldiers, mostly through no fault of their own. AER assists with such things as emergency travel costs, when the unit cannot; with privately owned vehicle, or POV, repairs that exceed a Soldier's savings; and with rent and initial deposits when basic allowance for housing, or BAH, has not started or is incorrect. AER also helps with much more basic living necessities.

Scholarships

The secondary mission of AER is scholarships for spouses and children of active duty and retirees. The scholarship is "needs-based," and last year ranged from $500 to $3,300.

The scholarship application period began Jan. 4, and it runs to May 1 when all supporting documentation is due to AER headquarters. The entire process is online; no snail mail is required.

Last year, AER awarded 4,245 scholarships, totaling more than $9 million to spouses and children of Soldiers.

Your AER donations are put to good use for Soldiers and their families, so when you just don't have the cash, let AER be your first choice.

Contact AER

The Schofield Barracks AER Office is located at Army Community Service (ACS), Building 2091, Kolekole Avenue. Call (808) 655-4227.

Remember, the main reason family members are disapproved is failure to turn in documentation by the May 1 deadline, so for more information or to apply, go to the AER website at www.aerhq.org and click on "Scholarships."