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Team Beale kicks off 2012 AFAF

Col. Phillip Stewart, 9th Reconnaissance Wing (RW) vice commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Robert White, 9 RW command chief, fill out Air Force Assistance Fund (AFAF) pledges while 1st Lt. Jeremy Miller and Senior Master Sgt. Geri Dreibelbis, Installation Project Officers for AFAF, assist them at Beale Air Force Base, Calif. March 5, 2012.  The Air Force Assistance Fund is a program designed to raise money to assist Beale Airmen during times of need.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Jonathan Fowler/Released)

Col. Phillip Stewart, 9th Reconnaissance Wing (RW) vice commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Robert White, 9 RW command chief, fill out Air Force Assistance Fund (AFAF) pledges while 1st Lt. Jeremy Miller and Senior Master Sgt. Geri Dreibelbis, Installation Project Officers for AFAF, assist them at Beale Air Force Base, Calif. March 5, 2012. The Air Force Assistance Fund is a program designed to raise money to assist Beale Airmen during times of need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Jonathan Fowler/Released)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., -- The 2012 Beale Air Force Assistance Fund kicked off Mar. 5, and runs through Apr. 13. The fundraising campaign is a program that benefits Air Force families in need, and is managed by Airmen at the local level.

The AFAF is an Air Force-wide program in its 39th year which benefits active-duty members, Reserve, Guard, retirees, and surviving spouses and families. The AFAF allots money each year to every base giving consideration to its population.

This year Beale organizers have set an installation goal of raising $70,673.

"Last year, Team Beale raised more than $76,000," said 1st Lt. Jeremy Miller, AFAF installation project officer. "It won't be difficult to meet our goal this year because of Beale's history of exceeding our previous goals."

One of the unique features of the fundraising effort is it provides contributors with a choice of where their contributions will go. The four charitable organizations include Air Force Village Foundation, Air Force Aid Society, General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation and Air Force Enlisted Village.

Air Force Enlisted Village, near Eglin AFB, Fla., was founded in 1967 to provide a safe, secure, and dignified place for indigent widows of retired Air Force enlisted members. More information is available at www.afenlistedwidows.org.

Air Force Village in San Antonio provides retirement living with access to continuing health care for military officers who served honorably, and their spouses, with priority to retired Air Force officer widows and widowers in need of financial assistance. The Air Force Village Web site is www.airforcevillages.com.

The General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation helps widows of all Air Force retirees, both officers and enlisted, through financial grants of assistance. The foundation Web site is www.lemay-foundation.org.

The Air Force Aid Society provides Airmen and their families with worldwide emergency financial assistance, education assistance, and an array of base-level, community-enhancement programs. Last year Beale used more than $165,000 in assistance from the AFAS.

"I was hesitant at first, because I didn't think I was going to need the help," said a recent recipient at Beale. "I cannot speak highly enough of the AFAS and the service they provided to me and my family in our time of need. I can speak first hand that when I donated to AFAS, it was hard to imagine the impact of my actions. When I became the recipient, I am infinitely grateful that such a program exists. But I know that AFAS cannot exist without the generous people whom have donated. "

The AFAS also funds the Give Parents a Break Program, Child Care for Permanent Change of Station Moves, Bundles for Babies, Heart Link and the HAP Arnold Grant Program. Another popular program the AFAS helps with is the Hearts Apart program for deployed Airmen. Information is available at the Airman and Family Readiness Center or at www.afas.org.

"We want to emphasis to everyone that this is the opportunity for them to give directly back to Airmen here at Beale," said Senior Master Sgt. Geri Dreibelbis, alternate installation project officer. "This is truly a way to take care of our Airmen."

To make a donation, or for more information contact your unit first sergeant.