By Jim CunninghamFebruary 28, 2010
CASEY GARRISON South Korea - The 2010 Army Emergency Relief campaign held training Feb. 19 in Casey Theater for key personnel housed in units within Area I to gather pledges and allotments from Soldiers who wish to contribute to the campaign. The campaign period will be from March 1 to May 15. The purpose of the campaign is to raise, with the least burden to Army people, funds to help cover financial assistance provided by AER, increase awareness of all Soldiers and their dependents, including spouses and orphans of deceased Soldiers, about the financial assistance available from AER, publicize procedures to obtain AER assistance, and make all Soldiers aware that their contributions help the Army take care of its own.
"Last year within Area I we raised almost $100, 000," said Lt. Col. Dave Hater, 2nd Infantry Division personnel officer. "We contacted everyone in the 2nd Infantry Division and Area I, which has more than 7,000 people. We asked everyone if they wanted to make a donation, and more than 2,000 people contributed last year. This is our goal once again, 100 percent contact. Whether or not a person contributes is a personal choice."
Army Emergency Relief obtains a large share of the funds necessary to support our missions through donations from both the general public and from the Army Family. In 2007, 10 percent of total expenses were for fund raising and other administrative expenses. The U.S. Army provides for many of our administration requirements, thereby insuring that 90 cents of every dollar you donate goes directly into one of our programs for Soldiers and their families. All donations to AER are used to support Soldiers and their families.
"All active duty Soldiers and Family members, Army National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers on continuous active duty for more than 30 days and their Family members, Retirees and Family members, Army national Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers who retired at age 60, and their Family members, surviving spouses and orphans, are eligible to receive assistance from AER," said Doris Planas, Red Cloud Garrison Army Community Services financial readiness program manager. "AER meets emergency financial needs of those qualified to receive them, for unforeseen and urgent needs, like death of a family member, illness, natural disaster, personal vehicle repairs, initial rent and deposit situations and situations when you are not receiving your pay."
Funding for AER comes from voluntary contributions from active and retired Soldiers and Army Civilians, repayment of AER interest-free loans, investment income, and unsolicited contributions.
"This is how we replenish our funds," Planas said, "we have people that just send us money, believe it or not. A third of our contributions must come from a fund-raising campaign."
Assistance is available to Soldiers and their Family members at more than 1,000 locations around the world, which are local AER offices, any American Red Cross Chapter, Air Force Aid Society, Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society, and Coast Guard Mutual Assistance Office.
The categories for authorized assistance are: food, rent or utilities assistance, emergency travel, medical/dental expenses, funeral expenses, vehicle repair and maintenance, no-pay situations, surviving spouses of Soldiers, undergraduate education scholarships to children, spouses and surviving spouses.
Wounded Warriors will receive a $200 check.
"If you are on leave and something happens and you need money, you can go to any of these places and request assistance," Planas said. "You do not have to be at an Army location to receive assistance."
"As long as you have the means to repay a loan, you will get a loan," she said. "In some cases we may delay payment."
The American Red Cross and AER began a partnership in 1998. American Red Cross will continue to provide financial assistance to Soldiers where military aid societies are not accessible. When these circumstances happen, AER will fully reimburse ARC for all assistance issued.
AER assisted more than 367 active and retired Soldiers and Families in 2009. They made loans for more than $370,000, grants for more than $2,000. Soldiers in need should ask his company commander or first sergeant for AER assistance. He may also ask for an AER loan up to $1,000. This access gives leaders immediate ability to solve Soldiers financial issues, and Soldiers will have an additional option other than payday lenders. Soldiers may give to AER by contacting their unit AER representative or they can mail contributions to: Army Emergency Relief, Attn: Donations, 200 Stovall Street, Room 5-N-13, Alexandria, VA 22332-0600. For additional information e-mail: Campaing@aerhq.org.