MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - -- Since 1904, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society has been helping Marines and sailors in their time of need. It is their mission to provide financial, educational and any other assistance warranted to members of the Navy, Marine Corps and eligible family members. But as a non-profit organization, the Society relies financially on charitable donations from the military community it serves. So, in an effort to raise both money and awareness, the NMCRS is scheduled to kick off its annual month-long fundraising drive with a special event at the base exchange March 17.
The kick-off event is scheduled to include a Fact-or-Fiction trivia game with prizes, free food and drinks (donations appreciated), a disc jockey and a NMCRS information booth.
“Our number one goal for this drive is 100 percent quality contact with the Marines and sailors,” said Geni G. Schopfel, the director of the Camp Lejeune NMCRS office. “We want to educate them about the society so they can make an informed decision as to whether or not they wish to make a donation.”
In 2005, the Camp Lejeune office, which was established in 1942, provided more than $900,000 in interest-free loans and outright grants to more than 2,200 military members and their families. Last year’s fund drive yielded a total of $210,000.
“We would like to at least match, if not exceed last year’s total,” said Steve Blare, chairman of the NMCRS Fund Drive Committee. “I hope that this year’s two new events turn out to do just the trick.”
In previous fund drives, the only event scheduled was a 5k walk/run. This year, a 10k competitive race and a raffle have been added. Also, for the first time this year, the Camp Lejeune Single Marine Program will provide support for the kick-off.
“One of the pillars of the Single Marine Program is community involvement,” said Susan Goodrich, the SMP Coordinator. “We definitely wanted to get involved with this great cause.”
Starting March 17, a SMP member will be at the exchange on weekdays selling raffle tickets for $1 each until the winners are announced April 7 at the 5k/10k runs. The grand prize winner will receive a 42 inch plasma screen television, the first runner-up will win a laptop computer and the second runner-up will get an iPod.
“The only two fundraisers authorized to solicit money from active-duty service members on base are the CFC [Combined Federal Campaign] and the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society fund drive,” said Blare. “While you can give to organizations worldwide through the CFC, money donated to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society goes directly to help your fellow Marines and sailors. It’s certainly something to think about.”
The Camp Lejeune NMCRS is located in Building 14 on McHugh Blvd. Their hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 451-5584.