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MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — There’s still time to turn in that pledge card.

Servicemembers and federal employees under U.S. Pacific Command have until Dec. 15 to donate to their favorite among nearly 1,900 charitable organizations participating in the 2006 Combined Federal Campaign-Overseas.

The six-week campaign was to end Friday. But it was extended this week in PACOM and two other major commands to give campaign volunteers more time to inform personnel about the opportunity to donate, officials said.

The campaign was still to end Friday in U.S. European Command, but, like the Pacific, runs two more weeks in U.S. Central and Southern commands.

“We were not able to make 100 percent contact with everyone due to troop movement, ships being away from port or mission requirements,” said David Knight, CFC-Overseas Pacific director. “Many areas have made 100 percent contact but it’s an all-or-nothing extension. This affords an opportunity for those of us who decide we want to increase our contribution or make an initial contribution.”

While commands and units can set their own individual campaign goals, most strive to meet or surpass money pledged the previous year, Knight said.

Just more than $16 million was raised overseas in the 2005 campaign, with PACOM contributing about $5.1 million, according to the CFC-O Web site.

Early Thursday, PACOM was showing close to $3.4 million in pledges, Knight said, quoting a fluid figure that had risen by $60,000 in one hour that morning.

U.S. Forces Japan, as of Thursday morning, had raised more than $2 million, still shy of last year’s $3-million-plus total, according to Knight.

“I’m not disappointed by the lack of contributions registered at this point,” he said. “It will change as people finish making contact in their offices and get all their forms turned in. The money is starting to roll in now.”

Including pledges from the Air Force and Navy, Misawa Air Base in northern Japan is about $47,000 away from meeting its goal of $257,000, said Tech. Sgt. George Maurer, 35th Fighter Wing CFC-O coordinator.

Since the campaign began Oct. 2, weekly pledges have been just ahead of last year’s, but fell behind this week, Maurer said.

“I was hoping for a big last week but it never materialized,” he said. “The feedback I get is that folks have pledge cards and intend to fill them out but never seem to get around to it.”

But overall, Maurer said he thinks the Misawa campaign is going well, considering the cut in military members’ cost of living allowance at the campaign start and the busy operations tempo this fall.

“If folks have decided not to give to this year’s campaign, I’m asking them to please reconsider,” he said. “There’re a lot of great charities out there. They depend on this money every year.”

As an added incentive, anyone at Misawa who donates $150 or more for the year — about $6.25 per paycheck — earns a chance to guest anchor a 2-minute local American Forces Network television newsbreak this month, Maurer said.

How to give to the CFC

Nearly 1,900 charitable organizations are part of this year’s Combined Federal Campaign-Overseas. Donations can be made through a payroll allotment or cash or check. The minimum donation is $1.

See your CFC-O unit representative for a pledge card or print one from the CFC-O Web site, www.cfcoverseas.org, under the link “Campaign Materials” and then “pledge card.” The Web site features an electronic search engine that pulls up charities based on areas of interest, from animals to cancer and from sports to military.

In the 2005 CFC-O campaign, participation was 36 percent with the average gift $140, according to the Web site.

— Jennifer H. Svan

Where the money goes

The top recipients in the 2005 Combined Federal Campaign-Overseas were:

1. The American Red Cross — $1,628,629

2. Community Health Charities — $1,620,394

3. National Unaffiliated Organizations — $1,549,369

4. Military, Veterans & Patriotic Service Organizations of America — $1,214,032

5. Christian Service Charities — $1,165,531

6. Children’s Charities of America — $1, 146,966

7. Global Impact — $914,565

8. Health & Medical Research Charities of America — $759,682

9. CancerCure of America — $597,678

10. Family Support and Youth Programs — $544,681

11. Animal Charities of America — $510,188

12. Medical Research Charities — $482,468

13. Christian Charities USA — $476,942

14. America’s Charities — $390,559

Source: www.cfcoverseas.org

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