The Army is currently conducting the 77th year of the annual Army Emergency Relief campaign. It began March 1 and continues until May 15.
AER is a private non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to Soldiers, active and retired, and their families. Its purpose is two-fold: To heighten awareness of the organization’s programs and services, and give Soldiers an opportunity to help their fellow Soldiers through voluntary contributions. AER provides emergency financial assistance in the form of no-interest loans and, in certain circumstances where there is significant financial hardship, grants.
In 2018 alone, AER served 40,413 Soldiers and families for a total assistance of $67.2 million. And since 1942, $2 billion in assistance was provided to nearly four million Soldiers, including more than $1 billion since 9/11.
AER has assisted other service members of the Stuttgart military community, too. A reciprocal agreement allows AER offices to assist personnel from all branches of service (the other services all have their own version of AER–see below). Assistance is based on need, and while no two situations are alike, AER, which is managed locally by, tries its best to find a way to say yes. Part of the Army team, AER approves 99 percent of all valid need requests. There is no limit to the amount of assistance, in most cases.
Financial help is available for food, rent or utilities, emergency transportation and vehicle repair, funeral expenses, medical/dental expenses, and personal needs when pay is delayed or stolen, according to the AER website. Smaller loans may be approved by company commanders and first sergeants.
AER also provides scholarships to children and spouses of active duty and retired Soldiers, as well as financial support to widows and wounded warriors.
Donating to AER is selfless – it’s not only an investment in your future as an American Soldier, it’s about supporting the whole army team during unexpected financial hardship. To make a donation, see your unit AER representative; visit www.aerhq.org; speak to the AER officer at Army Community Service in Bldg. 2915, Panzer Kaserne; or call 431-3362 07031-15-3362.
(Editor’s note: While AER supports all service members stationed in the U.S. Army Stuttgart military community, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen may seek financial assistance or donate to their branch-specific relief organizations.)