WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii – U.S. Army Hawaii kicked off the 2022 Army Emergency Relief campaign Feb. 24 at the Sgt. Smith Theater on Schofield Barracks prior to the monthly Community Information Exchange.
The annual campaign is the Army’s only nonprofit organization designed to provide financial relief and educational grants to active duty and retired service members. The campaign runs from March 1-May 15.
Army Emergency Relief was incorporated into the Army in 1942 to support Soldiers and family members facing financial hardships.
In the last 80 years, AER has provided $2 billion to nearly 4 million Soldiers, including $1 billion since 9/11.
“Every year Army Emergency Relief provides over $70 million in assistance to Soldiers and their families, for loans, grants, dependent spouse and children for educational scholarship grants,” U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii Commander Col. Dan Misigoy said. “Over 2,200 service members, retirees and families in Hawaii received assistance last year, totaling $2.5 million.”
The program also provides scholarships for military spouses and children. It gives undergraduate-level education scholarships to children of Soldiers, spouses of active-duty Soldiers and Gold Star spouses.
The organization is solely based on donations, and Soldiers can utilize those funds for an array of reasons. According to the AER website, the organization can help with:
• Emergency travel
• Mortgage, rent and initial deposit
• Temporary lodging
• Health care not covered by Tricare
• Vehicle costs
• Funeral expenses
• Basic essential furniture
The top three areas U.S. Army Hawaii Soldiers receive assistance with are for food, housing and emergency travel.
AER can also provide assistance during crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic or natural disasters.
“(AER issued more than) 1,700 grants totaling just over $1 million to Soldiers and families affected by the Navy’s water crisis,” Misigoy said.
The campaign aims to target those Soldiers who may not know about AER and all the organization has to offer. When Soldiers are experiencing financial hardship, they sometimes seek outside help.
While it is important for Soldiers to know where they can go in times of need, it can also be important to educate them before they get to that point.
Soldiers, retirees, and surviving family members can reach out to U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii’s Financial Readiness Program at (808) 787-4227 for financial education and resources, to include beginning the process to determine eligibility for an emergency financial situation.
Soldiers and government civilians can contribute to the AER campaign through May 15 by filling out donation forms supplied within their units or by going online and giving at https://give.armyemergencyrelief.org/USAG-Hawaii.