CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea – Using pizza and donuts as motivation the Army Community Service at Camp Humphreys raised $77 thousand during their annual Army Emergency Relief campaign.
“We had both an increase in money and participation this year,” said Katie Christy, financial readiness program manager at ACS. “We had 100 percent Soldier contact.”
The 81-year-old organization provides financial aid to Soldiers through zero-interest loans, scholarships and grants. Each year the campaign’s goal is to ensure 100 percent of Soldiers are informed about the benefits and programs AER provides, and to offer Soldiers the opportunity to voluntarily participate through donations.
The campaign ran March 1 through May 15, with a closing ceremony May 19 at Maude Hall. This year ACS moved the focus away from raising money to raising morale. Morale-boosting events were planned throughout the campaign, however the location of the events depended on the units. Those units with the highest donation participation rate secured a “home-court advantage” for pizza parties and donut days which were open to the public.
During the closing ceremony five units were recognized for their participation percentage:
- First place: Battery E, 652nd Air Defense Artillery
- Second Place: 3rd Brigade Combat Team
- Third Place: Company B, 304th Expeditionary Signal Battalion - Enhanced
- Fourth Place: Company D, 4th Battalion 2nd Attack Battalion (2nd Combat Aviation Brigade)
- Fifth Place: Special Operations Korea
Christy said while Battery E, 652nd ADA, didn’t win the monthly donuts or pizza events, their consistent efforts pulled them to the lead.
“A group came together and did a ton of unit events, like a dunk tank and other fun things,” said Christy. “They turned what could have been simple and boring and instead did a bunch of events that really raised unit morale.”
In addition to morale events, ACS took a proactive approach to increasing awareness. Rather than setting up the traditional AER booth in high-trafficked areas, the team went to the Soldiers, processing donations in the footprint. While the overall goal is to raise money, the priority was to increase participation regardless of donation size.
Christy said 48 units outreach events took place, which resulted in briefing more than 4,400 Soldiers.
“It was most effective, people began recognizing the representatives,” said Christy. “We’ve also seen more people coming in and using the program because they put a face with a name – so not only did our outreach help with the donation side but it also helped with assistance side too.”
The Army Emergency Relief is an organization that has provided $2 billion dollars in assistance since 1942. While the annual campaign has ended, AER accepts donations throughout the year online through the aerhq.org website.