ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Rock Island, Ill. - Army Emergency Relief recently earned its fifth consecutive four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation's largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities. According to Charity Navigator, only 5 percent of the charities they rate have received at least five consecutive four-star evaluations. This highly coveted rating reflects AER's sound fiscal management and program efficiency in providing financial assistance. In 2009, 89 cents of every dollar spent by AER was for the program costs involved in taking care of Soldiers and their Families.

Rock Island Arsenal's AER Section in 2010 provided $109,495 in support to Soldiers, retirees and their family members. In 2010, the Arsenal raised $78,145 in contributions to support AER grants and scholarships. This year, the Arsenal's fundraising campaign will run April 1-30.

AER is the Army's own military aid society, founded in 1942 in response to the need for Soldiers and their Families who were experiencing financial emergencies in World War II. Since its founding, AER has provided more than $1.3 billion of financial assistance.

AER provides financial assistance for such needs as emergency travel, housing, car repair, food and utilities. With assistance provided in the form of a no-interest loans and grants, AER provides the Army a valuable resource in helping take care of Soldiers and their Families.

AER assistance is available to Soldiers and their Families wherever they are located and the amount of assistance approved is only limited by a valid need. Soldiers and their Family members requiring AER assistance need only contact their chain of command or local AER office. Rock Island Arsenal's AER Section is co-located with Army Community Service, Bldg. 110, first floor, southeast; you can contact their office at (309) 782-0829. Under AER's Command Referral Program company commanders and first sergeants have the authority to approve AER loans to their Soldiers up to $1,000. Based on reciprocal agreements, Soldiers and Families, not near an Army Installation AER office, can seek assistance from the Air Force Aid Society, Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, Coast Guard Mutual Assistance or a local chapter of the American Red Cross.

Full details on AER's assistance programs may be found by contacting Army Community Service at (309) 782-0829 or on the web at or