(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — There’s still time to donate to the 2022 Army Emergency Relief fundraising campaign, which runs through the end of the month.

As the only official charity of the Army, AER offers active-duty Soldiers and their dependents enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System a variety of emergency and basic living needs in emergency situations. Reserve and National Guard Soldiers are also eligible for relief when on orders or mobilized by the federal or their state government.

“AER assists with an average of $70 million per year,” said Fort Leonard Wood Army Emergency Relief Officer Chuck Matthews. “Without the annual campaign and fundraising, the Army would not have the funds to assist with emergency needs throughout the year.”

In 2021, Fort Leonard Wood AER helped 381 Soldiers with $649,359 in loans and grants, and an additional 126 spouses and children received a combined $145,255 in education scholarships, for a total of $794,614, Matthews said.

So far this year, Fort Leonard Wood has raised about $79,000 in Soldier donations toward its goal of $150,000, according to Matthews, while the Army is about halfway to its $8 million goal.

“The Assistant Secretary of the Army and Vice Chief of Staff of the Army have also set a goal of 25 percent of Soldiers donating to the AER campaign this year, and we are at 24 percent so far,” Matthews said.

Much of that success is due to the training mission here. Soldiers in training have not hesitated to step up to the plate and help fellow Soldiers, according to 2nd Lt. Jordan Anderson, this year’s post campaign coordinator from Company B, 554th Engineer Battalion.

“Our team has seen the greatest response from trainees,” he said. “They are very attentive, ask professional questions and do not hesitate to donate.”

The annual campaign also serves as an outreach opportunity for the AER team, Anderson said.

“The campaign provides a platform for us to spread awareness regarding our mission, capabilities and intent,” Anderson said. “It also provides a safe opportunity for individuals to give back to an organization that prioritizes Soldiers and their families.”

The Fort Leonard Wood community can donate online using a payroll allotment, check, cash, credit card, debit card, PayPal or eCheck, or in-person at the AER office. There is also an AER campaign representative in each battalion who can provide more information and collect donations.

While the campaign draws to a close at the end of the month, Matthews said donations are accepted year-round at the AER office in Bldg. 486, or online. Call 573.596.2595 or 0212 to donate. To request AER assistance, call 573.596.3154.