Air Force Assistance Fund campaign kicks off at Robins, runs through April 15

Robins Air Force Base, Ga. -- An annual six-week fundraiser to help members of the Air Force family kicked off at Robins Monday and will continue through April 15.

The Air Force Assistance Fund was established to provide an effort to raise money for four charities that support members of the Air Force family in need.

"The Air Force Assistance Fund is an opportunity for all members of the Air Force to help our brothers and sisters in arms. This is a great way to raise money that directly supports active duty, families and retirees in need," said Capt. Steve Hillard, AFAF installation project officer.

The AFAF aids members of the Air Force family during personal emergencies, with educational needs and secures retirement homes for widows or widowers of Air Force members in need of financial assistance.

"We work in an environment that requires our members to sacrifice so much. Our frequent moves mean that some spouses and dependents have to cut careers short. It means we will sometimes be away or have to maintain two households. And that means our family members may need assistance while we are away. It also means that life happens. We all come upon a time when we need some help. It is very comforting to know you can count on your own Air Force family when you need a helping hand," said Capt. Shannon Morris, AFAF installation project officer.

The AFAF consists of four charitable foundations: the Air Force Aid Society, which provides grants and loans for active duty Airmen with demonstrated financial needs; the General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation, which offers financial help to indigent widows needing assistance; the Air Force Village Foundation, which operates more than 62 retirement villages for retired and honorably separated Air Force members; and the Air Force Enlisted Village, which provides a safe, secure and dignified place for indigent widows of retired Air Force personnel.

Captain Morris knows firsthand how helpful the AFAF can be. "Early in my enlisted days, I took leave and went home for a wonderful and much needed vacation. I returned to my duty station, totally broke from my vacation, and received a phone call the next day. My grandmother had passed away. As I had just flown...to Georgia and back with my husband, we were financially hard pressed to be able to afford two more roundtrip tickets. I spoke with my supervisor who referred me to the (Airman and Family Readiness Center) and within a day and a half my husband and I were on a plane to Georgia."

Last year's Robins AFAF campaign raised close to $103,000 and Robins personnel received $274,000 in assistance. This year's goal of $89,000 is 50 percent of the amount of money that would be raised if everyone donated a "fair share." An employee's "fair share," as defined by the AFAF, is one-tenth of one percent of their annual salary. If everyone contributes this amount, more than $179,000 will be raised.

All donors may contribute funds via cash or check, while active duty Airmen and retirees can select the Payroll Deduction Plan, which allots a specific amount to be donated from a member's pay. Those serving their country in a deployed location can go to http://afassistancefund.org to print and complete an AF form 2561 and fax it back to their unit AFAF keyworker.