By Tawana Ballard
Army Community Service, AER Officer
WIESBADEN, Germany—Army Emergency Relief kicked off its annual fundraising campaign with a cake-cutting event March 1 at the Stronger Together Café restaurant on Clay Kaserne. The campaign will run until May 15.
“The goal of the AER fundraising campaign is to raise $25,000,” said Tawana Ballard, AER Officer.
Colonel Mario Washington, Commander, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, spoke about ARE before the cake cutting and said, “Because of Tawana’s passion for the program and ability to help soldiers when they are in need shows how we as an army help Soldiers succeed and how we help take care of soldiers and I thank her for what she does.
“My goal for USAG Wiesbaden during the campaign is to educate and inform 100% of our soldiers and their families about the benefits and programs offered by the ARE; while providing the opportunity to donate by helping other soldiers in need,” Ballard said.
The EAR is the Army’s own non-profit organization that was founded in 1942. It was created to support soldiers and their family members who are experiencing financial emergencies by offering low-interest loans and grants. zero.
EAR offers over 30 different categories of assistance to help soldiers with immediate financial needs such as emergency travel, non-receipt of pay, rent, utilities, vehicle repairs and scholarships.
Financial assistance is available for active duty, retired, eligible reserve soldiers and their eligible family members.
By providing financial assistance for the costs associated with a permanent station change, AER can help with expenses before, during and after a move, such as auto repair, rent deposit, temporary accommodation, repair appliances, child care assistance, spousal license renewal and more.
Last year, the EAR added a new pet transportation financial assistance category to help ease the financial burden on soldiers and families during PCS moves, as COVID-19 introduced new challenges. Soldiers and families have had fewer options for transporting pets to and from overseas destinations due to reduced pet carrying capacity on commercial and military flights, which has significantly increased shipping costs. To help ease some of that burden, AER has started offering interest-free loans of up to $5,500 to eligible people.
As of December 2021, the AER has added an assistance category for the U.S. Army Occupational Skills Program at all installations worldwide. The CSP allows retiring and separating soldiers to participate in vocational training during their transition period to improve their civilian employment options. The ARE offers grants to support soldiers in the program. Assistance may be provided in the form of a grant of up to $500 for attendance at a local continental U.S. CSP, a grant of up to $1,000 for attendance at a non-local continental CSP ; or a grant of up to $1,500 for soldiers traveling from outside the continental United States to participate in a continental CSP.
ARE assistance can cover CSP-related costs as follows: travel expenses (airfare or fuel), with the following items: uniforms/street attire, CSP training tools/supplies, accommodation, services public and food.
There are three ways to request assistance from AER. Speak to your chain of command, visit your local AER officer, or call the American Red Cross. If you are requesting emergency assistance after hours, contact your local American Red Cross at 1-877-272-7337.
There are also several ways to donate to AER. You can donate online by visiting www.armyemergencyrelief.org. Active duty and retired soldiers can donate through an award, by visiting the local AER officer, or through a unit representative.
Soldiers, civilians, and family members can contribute to the campaign by completing a DA 4908 form, provided by their unit representative, an ARE officer, or by logging online.
To receive financial assistance, contact your local AER officer, Tawana Ballard, at Army Community Service by calling 0611-143-548-9201/9202.