By U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Army Community Service, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and RecreationApril 29, 2011
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The Army Emergency Relief fundraising campaign, here, continues through May 15.
Hawaii's AER has raised $168,787.04, so far this year, toward the $300,000 goal. Last year, the campaign raised $325,000, locally.
The annual campaign allows Soldiers to help their fellow Soldiers and creates a greater awareness and understanding of AER programs and benefits.
"Private donations are the only funds AER receives to support Soldiers and families in an emergency financial situation," said Jackie Torres, AER officer, Hawaii. "This is Soldiers helping Soldiers."
AER is a private, nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to active duty Soldiers, single or married, and their family members; National Guard and Reserve Soldiers on continuous active duty for more than 30 days, and their family members; retirees; and surviving spouses and orphans of Soldiers who died while on active duty or after they retired.
Last year in Hawaii, 2,439 Soldiers and family members were assisted with no-interest loans totaling $2,597,199, and grants totaling $77,372.
In 2010, AER also granted $7.9 million to help meet undergraduate-education needs nationwide, with 3,170 scholarships to children of Soldiers and 1,761 scholarships to spouses of Soldiers.
During the AER campaign, unit points of contact will call upon Soldiers for donations, which are completely voluntary. Making donations is not a requirement to receiving AER assistance.
Donations can be made by allotment, cash or check, and all contributions are fully tax deductible.
Visit www.aerhq.org to donate. For AER assistance or questions, contact your unit chain of command or the installation AER section at 655-7132; after business hours, contact the American Red Cross at (877) 272-7337.
(Editor's Note: Vanessa Lynch, news editor, Hawaii Army Weekly, contributed to the content of this article.)