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Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, D.C. -- The annual Air Force Assistance Fund campaign kicked off at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling March 12. The goal for the JBAB Air Force Element is to raise $4,700, calculated based on the active duty population and their pay grades.

Master Sgt. Michael Hall, JBAB Public Works Department operations superintendent, and Ch. (Capt.) Chris Conklin, JBAB chaplain, are project officers for this year's AFAF campaign.

"My personal goal is to try and collect enough contributions to surpass our goal and ensure these programs are available for our Airmen now and in the future," said Hall. "We never know how life is going to turn or who is going to need a helping hand. What you give this year, you or yours may need later. When you think about it, for a few dollars, you can really make a difference in one of our service members' lives."

Conklin agreed.

"They take care of those who have sacrificed much and gone before us, those who find themselves in difficult financial circumstances because of the loss of a spouse, catastrophic health care costs, or those who have outlived their retirement savings," he said. "They are also an investment in our own future and future Airmen to ensure that these organizations continue to serve Airmen and their families in times of need."

The AFAF was established to provide for an annual effort to raise funds for charitable affiliates that provide support to the Air Force family, including active duty members, retirees, reservists, guardsmen and their family members (including surviving spouses) in need.

These organizations are the Air Force Villages Inc., the Air Force Aid Society Inc., the General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation, and the Air Force Enlisted Village Inc. These organizations help Air Force members and family members in emergencies, educational needs, or to have a secure retirement home for widows or widowers of Air Force members in need of financial assistance.

"Each Air Force unit has key workers appointed who can assist with contribution processes," said Hall. "It is our goal to make 100 percent contact with everyone. Both military and civilians are more than welcome to make contributions."

Contributions may be made in the form of cash, check, or payroll deduction for active duty Airmen, or retired Airmen may set up a deduction from their retirement pay.

The Potomac Lanes Bowling Facility will also host an AFAF Bowling day, from noon-6 p.m. March 27, where donations will be accepted. The $8 cost will cover frames and shoes.

Hall shared a personal story about how the Air Force Aid Society, an Air Force Assistance Fund offshoot, helped him early in his Air Force career.

"I was a poor airman basic when my transmission went out in my car at the same time my wife was days away from giving birth to our child," he said. "The Air Force Aid Society gave me an interest-free loan and I was able to get my car fixed just in time. It relieved a great deal of stress on me and my family."

Conklin encouraged members to spare what they can for this worthy charity.

"This is a great opportunity to give to an organization that directly benefits their brothers and sisters in the Air Force, that honors and cares for our living heritage, and one that they may come to benefit from one day as well," he said.

Similarly, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, founded in 1904, is a private, non-profit charity organization sponsored by the Navy. The NMCRS provides need-based financial assistance to eligible recipients in the form of interest-free loans and grants, as well as scholarships and interest-free loans for education. The NMCRS also offers financial counseling, budget for baby workshops, thrift shops and visiting nurse services.

For more information or to donate to the Air Force Assistance Fund, log on to http://www.afassistancefund.org/, or contact your unit AFAF representative.

For more information or to donate to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, log on to http://www.nmcrs.org/ or e-mail melodie.weddlenmcrs.org or carol.loebleinnavy.mil.