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COVID-19 causes temporary pause in AFAF campaign

The AFAF has programs that directly benefit U.S. Air Force active duty, guardsmen and reservists, as well as enlisted or officer spouses, immediate family members and veterans.  The AFAF has four different funds that anybody can donate to, the Air Force Enlisted Village, LeMay Foundation, Air Force Villages Charitable Foundation and the Air Force Aid Society.(U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Cody Dowell/released)

The AFAF has programs that directly benefit U.S. Air Force active duty, guardsmen and reservists, as well as enlisted or officer spouses, immediate family members and veterans. The AFAF has four different funds that anybody can donate to, the Air Force Enlisted Village, LeMay Foundation, Air Force Villages Charitable Foundation and the Air Force Aid Society.(U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Cody Dowell/released)

Sheppard's Air Force Assistance Fund leaders pose for a photo with the 82nd Training Wing and 80th Flying Training Wing commanders and command chiefs at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 27, 2020. The AFAF charitable drive will kick off March 2 through April 10, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Pedro Tenorio)

Sheppard's Air Force Assistance Fund leaders pose for a photo with the 82nd Training Wing and 80th Flying Training Wing commanders and command chiefs at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 27, 2020. The AFAF charitable drive will kick off March 2 through April 10, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Pedro Tenorio)

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – The arrival of COVID-19 in the North Texas region has created some unique challenges to the mission here including the annual charitable mission of the Air Force Assistance Fund Campaign.

The unprecedented slower-than-normal fundraising campaign for Airmen and by Airmen has resulted in a suspension of the drive until July.

Col. Kenyon Bell, installation and 82nd Training Wing commander, said the COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder during these trying times of purpose and importance of donating to this cause.

“It’s this emergency that makes the 2020 campaign so vital,” he said. “Giving to the AFAF Campaign is our way of paying it forward, because as Airmen, we never know when we or our families are going to need the assistance of one of the charities who have helped us ‘take care of our own’ for many years. With the state of emergency happening across the globe including canceled PCSs, family crises, and unique personal emergencies, we are depending on each other more than ever to provide for the demand for assistance that will certainly increase in coming weeks.”

Capt. Carla Turrentine, AFAF installation project officer, said the normal period for bases to reach their goals lasts about six weeks. Nine weeks into the campaign amid COVID-19 has proved to be especially difficult for those leading the charge.

“The recent emergency occurring across the globe has presented us with some unique challenges during this campaign,” she said. “Social distancing, varying financial strains, and telework schedules have left campaign managers and unit representatives struggling to create methods to collect funds, due to the limited ability for face-to-face interactions, which is typically a major advantage in explaining the benefits of donating and supporting the AFAF.”

Sheppard has reached about 54 percent of its $65,898 goal that supports four AFAF charities, including:

  • The Air Force Aid Society is a financial resource utilized to assist military members and their families for varying financial needs ranging from educational scholarships to emergency shelters, utility coverage, childcare, and so much more.  
  • The Air Force Enlisted Village provides a safe and secure home for surviving spouses of enlisted Airmen.
  • The Air Force Villages Charitable Foundation provides care and housing for surviving spouses of retired U.S. Air Force Officers. 
  • The General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation awards grants to enlisted and officer retirees’ surviving spouses that fall below the poverty line to assist with dental, medical, prescription, mortgage and rent delinquencies.

Master Sgt. Kurtis Stadsvold, AFAF assistant project officer, said a second phase of the campaign will resume July 13 and end July 24.

“During this portion of the campaign, we will be able to re-engage with face-to-face interactions as well as collecting cash and check donations,” he said. “Participation from all eligible donors will be encouraged in order to assist us in meeting our goals.”

For more information, call Turrentine at 940-676-6075 or Stadsvold at 940-676-0593.