CAMP ZAMA, Japan (March 5, 2020) – The annual Army Emergency Relief campaign is ongoing now through May 15 at Camp Zama and other Army installations throughout the world.
The main goal of the campaign is to make sure every Soldier is aware of AER services, said Brad Morgan, AER officer and Financial Readiness Program manager for U.S. Army Garrison Japan Army Community Service.
AER contributes to Soldier readiness by reducing financial stress, and also provides grants and no-interest loans so Soldiers can avoid using high-interest, predatory lenders, Morgan said.
The secondary goal of the AER campaign is to collect donations, Morgan said.
“We use the motto ‘Soldiers helping Soldiers,’” Morgan said. “You never know when you might have to use our services, so if you have a sound financial base, it is great to give to AER to help other Soldiers who may have a financial emergency.”
Those who would like to contribute can visit https://give.armyemergencyrelief.org or talk to their unit AER representative about making a donation, Morgan said.
At Camp Zama, the most common AER expenses are emergency travel to the United States and personal vehicle repairs, Morgan said.
AER can help with many other expenses, however, including car seats, cranial helmets and costs associated with natural disasters and other emergencies, Morgan said. The organization also provides scholarships.
Active-duty Soldiers, their dependents and U.S. Army retirees are eligible for assistance, Morgan said.
AER is a 501c(3) organization that the Secretary of War and Army Chief of Staff established in 1942 to relieve financial distress on Soldiers and their families, according to AER.
Since then, AER has helped more than four million Soldiers with $2 billion in assistance, according to AER. The organization has provided more than $1 billion of that money since the 9/11 attacks.
On average, AER helps more than 40,000 Soldiers each year with more than $70 million, according to AER.
AER donations are important because the government does not pay for AER, and although the organization provides many loans, grants are an increasing portion of the organization’s services, according to AER.
The organization encourages AER officers to “find a way to say yes,” according to AER, so it never hurts to ask whether AER might cover an expense.
For more information, call (DSN) 315-263-4357 or (COMM) 046-407-4357, or visit https://www.armyemergencyrelief.org.