Army Emergency Relief campaign kicks off

by Shelton on February 25th, 2015

filed under Debt Consolidation

Fort Leavenworths 2015 Army Emergency Relief Campaign kicked off Feb. 18 at the Frontier Conference Center. The campaign slogan is Making a Difference. Fort Leavenworths goal is to raise $90,000 during the campaign, which runs from March 1 to May 15.

Zach Stephens, 2015 AER campaign coordinator, shared the campaign goals at the kick-off event.

The objectives of the campaign are to educate the leaders and the Fort Leavenworth military community of the services AER provides, make 100 percent contact to those eligible to contribute to the campaign; and meet the established goal of $90,000 for the installation, Stephens said.

Fort Leavenworth raised $69,617 for AER last year, falling short of the 2014 campaign goal of $90,000, and distributed $315,325 in loans and $54,885 in grants to a total of 264 clients.

Jack Walker, deputy to the Garrison commander, spoke at the event. He explained where the Fort Leavenworth donations came from last year.

About 39 percent of (the 2014 contribution funds) were active-duty personnel. Fifty-seven percent of them were retirees looking after the current soldiers and their needs. Other (donations) amounted to about 4 percent, Walker said.

Incorporated as a private nonprofit organization in 1942, AERs mission is to help soldiers and their family members by providing emergency financial assistance. Emergencies include house fires, vehicle repairs, medical or funeral expenses, cranial helmets, car seats and food, among others. Loans do not cover ordinary vacation, legal expenses, debt consolidation or other nonessentials. AER also has two scholarship programs for spouses and dependents pursuing undergraduate degrees. (See AER release for more information.)

Theres probably not a person in the room who hasnt at some time or another run into a few financial difficulties and was looking for someplace to turn to be able to take care of that need, Walker said.

Assistance is provided through interest-free loans or grants, if repayment of a loan will cause undue hardship. Partial loans and grants are also offered. There is no dollar limit to the amount of the loan funds are made available to commanders based on valid needs.

For the most part, if there is a true need they are going to get taken care of, Walker said.

Those eligible for assistance are active-duty soldiers and their family members, retirees and their family members, widows and orphans of soldiers who died while on active duty or after retirement, and National Guard and Reserve soldiers on Title 10 orders for more than 30 consecutive days and their family members.

As a nonprofit organization, AER receives no money from the government. Funds come from loan repayments, investments, unsolicited contributions and donations from soldiers, civilian employees, family members and retirees. Unit representatives or a key person collect donations from active-duty soldiers and turn them in to campaign headquarters. Retirees are contacted by AER headquarters via mail and send donations in to headquarters.

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