WIESBADEN, Germany – While the economic impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continue to affect people around the globe, the Wiesbaden community appears resilient as ever.
The Wiesbaden Army Community Services has seen a slight increase in requests for financial assistance by retirees affected by job loss, but the active duty Soldier community has not shown a similar increase.
“We have seen an increase in AER assistance requests from retirees who experienced job losses due to COVID,” said Federica LeMauk, the Army Community Services financial readiness program manager. Many don’t realize that the Army Emergency Relief program also provides assistance to retiree, their families and their survivors.
LeMauk went on to explain why the active duty Soldier population has not seen the same increase in assistance for several reasons. The refundable child tax credit families started receiving monthly since the summer has put additional cash in families’ budgets, with either $250 or $300 monthly per child, depending on the age. Also, employment opportunities for spouses generally are limited in Germany, and they have not been significantly reduced by COVID. Many families already have adjusted their budgets to a single income, regardless of COVID.
“We haven’t seen job losses like in the States, because most of our population has the job security that comes with being a Soldier, DoD civilian or federal contractor” she said.
Even though life in the military can be challenging on many levels, working for the Army also brings housing benefits, medical care and many other benefits that helps the Army community stay financially resilient.
LeMauk pointed out one positive aspect among the regular clientele in financial readiness - they have seen families paying down more debt because they are spending less traveling and eating out.
Even as families find new ways to save, ACS continues to offer helpful programs for the community and those in need.
Right now ACS is in the middle of their Holiday Assistance Program, which is ongoing through Christmas. The seasonal program helps provide families with food for Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as providing Christmas gifts for children through the Angel Tree program.
Volunteers will put up the Angel Trees at the Main Exchange, the Hainerberg Chapel and the Clay Chapel on Nov. 26. Each tree will have Angel Tags that list clothing sizes and a wish gift for an individual child. People can read the tags, find one they would like to support and then purchase the desired articles. There is a bin next to each tree for donors to place the purchased gifts.