ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Since 2001, Anniston Army Depot's Army Emergency Relief program has received over $414,000 in donations, an impressive feat for an installation with such a small military presence.

In 2011 to date, $67,315 has been donated.

AER is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to assist soldiers and their dependents during time of financial need. Under the regulations governing the program, AER can only solicit donations from those who might benefit from it -- military on active duty, their spouses, widows and widowers, retirees and National Guard or Reserve Soldiers under Title X who are on orders longer than 30 days.

"Every branch of service has a relief society," said Cindy Taylor, the depot's Army Emergency Relief officer. "It doesn't matter which branch of service you belong to, you can go to any relief center."

Taylor said the depot's AER has served men and women from all branches of the armed forces and the system is set up that way to ensure service members get needed help in the most convenient manner.

In the 11 years the AER program has been on the installation, 352 military families have been helped by the program through loans, grants and scholarships.

"The money given out through AER comes solely from donations," said Taylor.

For the depot, those donations come through the annual AER Golf Tournament, unsolicited donations made throughout the year and from a retiree solicitation program carried out by AER Headquarters.

"We participate in a retiree solicitation program because that is where the bulk of our donations come from. We have really good participation from retirees."

For more information about the depot's AER program, call Taylor at 256-741-5247.