By Griffin Swartzell, Space Observer staff writer
/ Published July 20, 2020
Shoppers on Peterson Air Force Base generated over $478 thousand in financial support for military quality of life programs through purchases at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service base exchange between February 2019 and February 2020. Some of those funds will go to quality of life programs administered by the 21st Force Support Squadron.
A recent press release from AAFES public affairs stipulated that all of the money earned by AAFES worldwide gets reinvested into military communities, with 41% going directly to develop AAFES services in person and on MyShopExchange.com. The remaining 59% goes into dividends that support aforementioned quality of life programs across the force.
“The Exchange is Family Serving Family,” said Lawrence Simmons Jr., Colorado Springs Consolidated Exchange general manager, quoting their official slogan in a recent press release. “Exchange earnings improve the lives of Peterson heroes and their families.”
Over the course of the year, AAFES tabulates its sales and pays out dividends to each relevant installation based on various criteria including sales and personnel numbers, said Dorothy Choate, 21st FSS deputy director. Each year, Peterson receives between $38,000 and $50,000. These funds also support the North American Aerospace Defense Command/U.S. Northern Command and the U.S. Space Force, as both use the local AAFES and related shopping app.
“Final Friday, base-wide events, sports and field day, [special morale and welfare] funds and anything else that we have a residual for that we do not actually get funded for, we will put AAFES dividends towards,” Choate said.
Special morale and welfare funds, Choate explained, are reimbursements for major base events such as changes of command, commander’s calls, memorial services and other similar events.
There are ways that Peterson AFB benefits from AAFES dividends besides direct funds disbursement. Funds from the AAFES Services Center can also pay for construction projects.
These funds, called non-appropriated funds, go towards building clubs, golf courses and eating establishments — facilities run by each base’s FSS.
“The bottom line,” said Choate, “[is that] AAFES dividends support the Airmen and joint coalitions’… [morale] activities throughout the fiscal year.”.