A grant from AFAS eased a burden during COVID-19

Two years ago, Airman First Class Kyle Shenberger headed to Basic Military Training. He had been deeply affected by 9/11 and joined the Air Force because he wanted to contribute and help defend and preserve the freedoms for which others fought and died. At 30 years old, he wanted to prove that no matter his age, he had what it took to stand next to other men and women who had the same values.

The Airmen who A1C Shenberger proudly stands next to today are a family all fighting for a common cause. And, during the year of the global pandemic, they’re also working to adapt to a “new normal” at work and at home.

The Shenbergers’ daughter was due to begin kindergarten this fall, but with COVID-19, in-person classes were cancelled. The Shenbergers found themselves unexpectedly needing more school supplies than they would for in-person classes.

Fortunately, being a part of the Air Force family means having the Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) there to help in unexpected situations. AFAS recognizes many Air Force families have faced extra expenses resulting from school closings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For a limited time, AFAS offered a one-time $250 Virtual Schooling Grant to eligible Air Force families with a financial need to help with virtual schooling costs.

The Shenbergers applied for and received the grant. This allowed them to purchase the supplies they needed for their daughters’ virtual schooling, plus additional supplies to keep her safe when she begins in-person classes.

The grant from AFAS eased a financial burden, giving A1C Shenberger “a little more peace of mind,” he says. This allowed him to focus on his job instead of worrying about his daughter’s schooling. “Being relaxed, you think more clearly.”

According to A1C Shenberger, AFAS is living proof that there are people “kind enough and generous enough to lend a hand to others they don’t even know.” He sees AFAS as a way to connect these unknown Airmen together, strengthening their family unit.

To the generous donors of AFAS, “your giving is appreciated and received with gratitude,” he says humbly. “We’re really blessed.”

Now prepared for both virtual schooling and in-person learning when it’s time, the Shenbergers feel taken care of by the Society. They look forward to “seeing the positives the next year will bring.”

Incorporated in 1942, the Air Force Aid Society continues to meet the unique needs of Airmen and Guardians. AFAS works to support and enhance the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force missions by providing emergency financial assistance, educational support, and community programs to Air Force and Space Force families. In 2021, AFAS provided over $13.5 million in assistance to more than 19,000 Air Force and Space Force families. Visit www.afas.org to learn more, apply for assistance, or to donate.