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Annual AFAF campaign underway

AFAF underway

Air Force Assistance Fund (U.S. Air Force graphic)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- The 2018 Air Force Assistance Fund charitable drive will take place here March 26 through May 11. The goal for this year's fundraising effort at Hanscom is $31,000.

The Air Force Assistance Fund is an Air Force-wide annual fundraising effort to assist past and present Airmen and their families with unexpected challenges and financial hardships through four charities: The Air Force Aid Society, General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation, Air Force Village Charitable Foundation and the Air Force Enlisted Village.

“This year’s Air Force Assistance Fund will formally kick off March 30 with a chili and chowder cook-off at the Minuteman Commons Tavern, directly following the Team Hanscom March Enlisted Promotion Ceremony,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jessica McWain, this year’s installation project officer at Hanscom.

The top chili and chowder chefs will receive a prize, and guests will have the chance to make donations to any one of the four charities.

According to the Airman and Family Readiness Center, last year the Air Force Aid Society distributed more than $6,300 through nine emergency cases at Hanscom. The AFAS also granted more than $10,000 in education grants and contributed $1,200 toward community enhancements here.

“Members of Team Hanscom provided the Air Force Aid Society $13,342 during last year’s campaign,” McWain said. “Unlike other charitable fundraisers, this one is exclusively for our Air Force family, including Airmen stationed right here at Hanscom.”

The Air Force Assistance Fund website, www.afassistancefund.org, features information about all of the affiliate charities, videos, assistance stories and frequently asked questions.

Master Sgt. Harvey Holloway, Hanscom’s assistant installation project officer, encourages those interested in making a donation to visit the site and learn more about how donations help the Air Force family.

“Organization keyworkers will be provided specific goals, and will work to educate the base community on the unmatched care and support the Air Force Assistance Fund offers to Airmen and their families,” he said.

Organizers say the easiest and preferred way to donate is to complete an Air Force Form 2561 and submit it to a keyworker.

AFAF volunteers can only solicit on-the-job donations from active duty members and military retirees. However, cash or check contributions from civilians and others are accepted.

The four AFAF charities help Air Force active duty, retirees, Reserve and Air National Guard members in a variety of ways, to include aiding in emergencies, providing educational needs and helping secure a retirement home for Air Force widows or widowers in need of financial assistance.

Air Force Aid Society

The Air Force Aid Society was founded as a relief organization in 1942 by Army Air Force personnel, including General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, who wanted to take care of their own, and has been helping Airmen through difficult times ever since.

AFAS donations help fund several programs run through Hanscom's A&FRC such as respite care, Give Parents a Break, child care for volunteers, child care for permanent change of station, Car Care Because We Care and Bundles for Babies.

General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation

General Curtis E. LeMay and his wife, Helen, began their foundation, which provides for the needs of military widows across the nation, in 1987.

The General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation provides financial aid to widowed spouses of Air Force personnel of all ranks who are in need of assistance, states the organization's website www.lemay-foundation.org. The foundation uses grants to provide assistance for rent, utilities, food, some health care and other needs that may strain a widow's budget.

The foundation understands that military spouses "spend much of their lives coping with the difficulties of military life and supporting their spouses through years of active duty. Military spouses are entitled to a decent standard of living, entitled to live with dignity, and entitled to be proud of their service."

Air Force Villages Charitable Foundation

The Air Force Village in San Antonio, known today as Blue Skies of Texas, has been providing a core charitable mission to care for retired Air Force officers' widowed spouses in need of financial help for nearly 50 years.

According to AFVCF officials, through this charity, Air Force widowed spouses are provided a dignified, comfortable and affordable retirement community.

Two retirement communities offer independent living, skilled nursing, wellness clinics, home health care services, assisted living facilities and access to health care centers.

Air Force Enlisted Village

The Air Force Enlisted Village was founded in 1967 by a group of active duty and retired Air Force noncommissioned officers, with the assistance of former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. and Mrs. John D. Ryan.

The foundation's mission is providing financial assistance and housing to surviving spouses of Air Force enlisted members who are left without the opportunity for careers, home equities, retirement plans or any significant assets, according to the foundation's website at www.afenlistedwidows.org.

The Air Force Enlisted Village consists of two separate living facilities, Teresa Village and Bob Hope Village, located in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and Shalimar, Fla., respectively. The villages include apartments, community centers, chapels, outdoor gardens and other amenities. The Bob Hope Village includes the Hawthorn House, a 64-apartment assisted living facility.

For additional information about AFAF, the chili and chowder cook-off, or to make a donation, contact McWain at 781-225-5630 or Holloway at 781-225-5635.