AUSA Pledges $1 Million To Help Soldiers

AUSA Pledges $1 Million To Help Soldiers

soldiers donating food
Photo by: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Joshua Magbanua

The Association of the U.S. Army recently pledged $1 million to Army Emergency Relief to help soldiers and military families struggling with food insecurity.

The goal is to give soldiers and their families much needed assistance while reinforcing the importance of financial readiness and well-being through an incentivized financial training program, said retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Dan Dailey, AUSA’s vice president for NCO and Soldier Programs.

“The leading cause of food insecurity is financial readiness,” Dailey said. 

Army Emergency Relief’s enhanced Financial Literacy Training Program, scheduled for launch in mid-March, has two goals: providing immediate relief for those in need, and reinforcing positive financial education for service members, he said.

Founded in 1942 and charged with relieving undue financial stress on the force, Army Emergency Relief provides assistance through grants or loans, depending on the soldier’s situation, as verified by their chain of command. 

Through the new program, soldiers who receive a loan can undergo financial readiness training. If they pass, they receive a credit toward the repayment of their loan.

AUSA also is working through its chapters, located across the U.S. and around the world, to provide relief to soldiers and families in need, Dailey said.

Food insecurity has been a challenge for some service members and military families, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. A 2020 Blue Star Families Military Lifestyle Survey found that 14% of active-duty enlisted family members had faced food insecurity within the past 12 months.

Military leaders, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, have pledged to address the problem. 

“Men and women in uniform and their families have enough to worry about―basic necessities like food and housing shouldn’t be among them. This is a readiness issue. And that’s why I’m focused on making sure that our service members and their families have what they need to thrive,” Austin told reporters following a November 2021 memo to the force.

AUSA continuously works with the Army to seek solutions for food insecurity and other issues facing troops, Dailey said.

“This is an excellent program,” he said. “It helps our soldiers in need while simultaneously promoting financial education.”