The Naval Air Station Lemoore (NASL) Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) is notifying the base community that changes will be coming to various policies and operations beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

“As a nonprofit, volunteer service organization, we use both financial and non-financial resources to identify solutions to meet emerging needs. We help clients improve personal financial skills and encourage individual financial responsibility,” said NMCRS director Jeanes Cunningham.

The Society runs the base Thrift Shop and Budgeting for Baby (B4B) workshops, provides educational assistance and scholarships, and also offers financial services, such Quick Assist Loans (QAL) that are interest-free loans for active-duty members and retirees to pay for living expenses and emergency travel.

“The Quick Assist Loans are very popular and stop military members from using predatory loans,” said Cunningham. In the new year, service members will be limited to using QALs five times over their career.

According to Admiral Steve Abbot, U.S. Navy (Ret.), NMCRS remains focused on its mission, vision, and guiding principles and financial education will become more of a priority.

Abbot released a statement that read: “In the past 10 years, some of our clients have relied on QALs without understanding that QALs are a sub-set of our financial assistance. We believe sitting down, face-to-face, with a Society caseworker is a win-win for everyone. Clients become better informed about their personal finances and caseworkers are able to evaluate the whole picture, provide recommendations and resources, and help the client become more financially secure.”

Those who attend the B4B workshop will receive a $25 gift card instead of the Gerber pack items that were previously given. In 2017, nearly 65 percent of B4B workshop participants elected to receive a gift card, leading to the change in policy.

Started over a century ago, NMCRS is funded solely by active duty members and retirees and has over 70 locations worldwide. In 2016, NASL’s Society provided over $618,776 in assistance to 1,259 clients. The 2018 Fund Drive will kick off in March of next year, where one-time contributions or monthly allotments are welcomed. Donations can be made online at https://donate.nmcrs.org/page/contribute.

According to Jennifer Bonine, co-chairman of volunteers at NMCRS, they are always in need of new volunteers to help run the Society. “Due to the nomadic nature of the military, we are always looking for new volunteers,” Bonine said. “We have plenty of opportunities for varying levels of commitment.”

To learn more about the Society, visit http://www.mncrs.org/pages/our-history. For those interested in services provided by NMCRS or who would like to volunteer, call (559) 998-4045 or stop by the base office at 822 Hancock Circle.

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