Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
The 2020 Army Emergency Relief Campaign officially kicked off March 2 and will continue through May 2. The goal for Fort Leavenworth is to contribute $50,000.
AER is a non-profit organization created to help soldiers, retirees and Army family members with emergency expenses such as rent, food assistance, medical expenses, emergency travel and vehicle repairs through interest-free loans and grants. It also provides scholarships for spouses and dependent children to continue their education. Since its establishment in 1942, AER has provided more than $2 billion in assistance.
In 2019, Fort Leavenworth AER gave $264,000 in loans and grants to soldiers in need yet only raised a little more than $48,000, which is why Col. Harry Hung, Garrison commander, said he wants to approach the 2020 campaign with a different initiative with the “Give a Buck Campaign.”
“Last year, Fort Leavenworth had 184 donors, but you can easily see that the need is pretty substantial,” Hung said. “The need is not exclusive to Fort Leavenworth. When you donate, you’re donating to the AER pool and that AER pool is available for any active-duty or retired service member.
“For me, this is not about the money. Though I’d like to meet the $50K, this is about us as a community,” he said. “All we have to do is ‘Give A Buck.’ That’s all I’m asking. If we do that, the power of our community just to give a dollar will be multiplied by thousands. Some will give more, which is great, but I know we can do better than 184 (donors).”
To donate, soldiers can contact their unit key person or visit www.armyemergencyrelief.org. or https://www.aerhq.org/Donate/Donate-Now. Soldiers and retirees can donate via cash, check or monthly allotment. Civilians can donate via cash or check on the websites or in-person to the Army Community Service office, 600 Thomas Ave.
For more information, call 684-2800.