“It’s not about Airmen giving more; it’s about more Airmen giving!”
– Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the Air Force
These collective words of Air Force leadership sum up the goal of this year’s 43rd annual Air Force Assistance Fund campaign as unit representatives at Luke Air Force Base and others worldwide raise money to support a program that gives hope and assistance to Airmen in need.
“The AFAF campaign runs from March 21 to April 29, and this year our goal is to raise $81,650,” said Capt. Sally To, 56th Medical Support Squadron officer in charge. “By each person contributing $30, we can do it. People can expect to see posters in buildings soon and representatives making personal contact in their unit.”
Active-duty personnel will receive an information pamphlet and Form 2561. People can use the form to contribute to four affiliate charities — the Air Force Aid Society, the Lemay Foundation, Air Force Villages Charitable Foundation and Air Force Enlisted Village, which provide support to Airmen and their families.
Donations can be in the form of cash or direct payroll deductions, in which smaller amounts are taken out each month. Last year, total loans and requests given by the AFAF were $130,331.
“These grants and loans were made available for various scenarios to include funerals, dental care, shelter arrangements such as rent and mortgage payments, emergency travel and vehicle payments,” To said. “Another $19,715 was made available through community programs such as Bundles for Babies, Give Parents a Break Program, Child Care for PCS Moves and Spouse Employment Program.”
The possibilities are vast and the availability is there for those who need it.
“We are here to take care of each other, but we cannot help you unless you let us,” To said.
Although people may never have a need, it is important for Airmen to know the Air Force takes care of its people.
“Organizations like this one create hope and offer assistance to those in need that cannot be found anywhere else,” To said. “The AFAF is such a great cause and really brings out the most human part of our hearts — to give, empathize and make society a better place and not expect anything in return is what helps our Air Force family grow stronger.”
Though contributions may be small, giving is an intangible idea that is not short-lived, but a gesture that is never forgotten.
“I’ve given back every year for at least the past 13 years,” said Tech. Sgt. Eugene Lofton, 56th Maintenance Group quality assurance inspector. “I like to volunteer when I can, so I can tell my story of how the AFAF was a blessing to me and my family.”