Hanscom AFB --
Every year Air Force personnel have the opportunity to give to four charities that help provide for the well-being of fellow Airmen by participating in the Air Force Assistance Fund.
The AFAF campaign, led by Capt. Amanda Dietrich, 66th Air Base Wing executive officer, benefits four charities: the Air Force Aid Society, the Air Force Village Foundation, the General and Mrs. Curtis LeMay Foundation and the Air Force Enlisted Village.
Hanscom's monetary goal for this campaign, which officially began Monday and ends May 6, is $34,508. Additionally, if at least 50 percent of active-duty troops assigned here participate and the monetary goal is met, the base community will be eligible to receive $2,500.
Those who wish to contribute can do so online by visiting the AFAF Web site, www.afassistancefund.org
, and completing the form.
Charity Spotlight: Air Force Aid Society
Founded in 1942 by Army Air Force personnel wanting to "take care of their own," the Air Force Aid Society has been helping Airmen through difficult times. Working from a small headquarters in Washington, D.C., the organization helped 33,000 members Air Force-wide receive a total of $19.6 million in 2006, according to the Air Force Aid Society's Web site at www.afas.org
How AFAS helps Hanscom:
Locally, the AFAS helps to fund many programs run through the Airman and Family Readiness Center.
In 2006, AFAS provided Hanscom with $8,782 for the following community-based programs: Respite Care, Give Parents a Break, Child Care for Volunteers, Child Care for PCS, Car Care Because We Care, Phone Home and Bundles for Babies. Respite Care provides a break for a few hours per week or month to families that have the responsibility of 24-hour care for an ill or disabled family member, said Fran Cusick, Hanscom Air Force Aid Society representative.
Persons interested in this program must have a referral from Maj. Philip Miller, who is the point of contact for the Special Needs Identification program. Major Miller can be reached at (781) 377-4791.
Another program which receives funding from AFAS is Give Parents a Break. This program, Mrs. Cusick said, provides four hours of child care for qualifying children enrolled at the Child Development Center, on the third Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
To be considered for this program, personnel should receive a referral from an A&FRC staff member, the chaplain, or their First Sergeant.
"Referrals are based on family crises and stressful situations," Mrs. Cusick said. Referral situations can include: a death in the family, deployments or a husband or wife returning home from a long tour. Moving can also cause unwanted stress on a family, Mrs. Cusick said.
Child Care for PCS is a program that allows for 20 hours of free child care per child for personnel with orders departing, or arriving at the base. The program is open to personnel from all ranks, she said.
The Air Force Aid Society also offers a program, Car Care Because We Care, which provides a free oil change and a 14-point check-up to spouses of active-duty personnel who are deployed for more than 30 days or assigned on a remote tour, and to first-term Airmen who complete a budget with the Personnel Financial Manager at the A&FRC.
Bundles for Babies, an all day workshop for active-duty families, allows expectant parents to meet with registered nurses, the base pediatrician and other base health care providers, Ms. Cusick said. "The parents receive hands-on parenting tips, see presentations on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Shaken Baby Syndrome, and receive a bundle full of baby items. This workshop is offered quarterly."
The AFAS also grants interest-free loans to those who experience unexpected emergencies. Hanscom provided $18,000 in interest-free loans in 2006," Mrs. Cusick said. Additionally, the organization offers grants and scholarships to active-duty personnel and their dependants, she said.
"The Hap Arnold Educational Grant provides a $1,500 grant for spouses and children of active-duty military members attending an undergraduate college or an approved vocational or technical school," Ms. Cusick said.
In 2006, Hanscom family members received $38,000 in college grant money. AFAS has provided Hanscom's military personnel and their family members $64,826 in loans, grants, educational support and community needs programs. For more information on the AFAS supported A&FRC programs, call Fran Cusick at (781) 377-4222.
(First Lt. Martha L. Petersante-Gioia contributed to this article.)