FORT LEE, Va. (March 10, 2011) -Army Emergency Relief is set to kick-off its annual fundraising campaign to fill the coffers that helps the Army take care of its own during an Installation Town Hall meeting March 17, 1:30 p.m., at the Fort Lee Theater.

The donation drive began on March 1 and will continue through May 15. This year's goal is to raise $100,000 to help replenish the monies used to assist active duty Soldiers, Army retirees and their family members and surviving spouses and orphans of Soldiers who died while on active duty among others.

Last year, Fort Lee set a goal to raise $100,000 and exceeded it by donating $101,000 through cash, check or allotments through military pay.

"If each person on Fort Lee donated a few dollars we'd easily meet our goal," said Sgt. 1st Class Lina Restrpo, Fort Lee AER campaign coordinator.

During 2010, Fort Lee's Army Community Service, which is the agency that administers the program, provided more than $1.6 million in emergency financial assistance through interest-free loans, grants or part-loan and part-grant allocations.

The non-profit AER receives its funds through voluntary contributions from active and retired Soldiers and civilians, repayment of AER interest -free loans, investment income and unsolicited contributions.

The program can be used to help with emergency financial needs including food, rent or utilities, emergency transportation and vehicle repair, funeral expenses and medical expenses. AER provides college scholarships to children, spouses and surviving spouses of Soldiers. In addition, AER provides lifetime membership in the Army Air Force Mutual Aid Association for surviving families of Soldiers who die while on active duty, grants for wounded Soldiers medically evacuated from a theater of combat and personal financial management training for Soldiers in advanced individual training.

Fort Lee senior leaders will sign their pledge cards during the AER kick-off.

For information about contributing to the campaign, contact a unit representative, Restrepo or Sgt. Roy Plymate at (804) 765-3800 or 734-7954.