Service members, retirees, veterans and military families know it pays to shop their Exchange. In 2019, authorized Army & Air Force Exchange Service shoppers generated $217 million of critical support for military quality-of-life programs in the form of earnings-based dividends.
All Exchange earnings are invested in the military community, so every trip to an Exchange Main Store, Express, movie theater, restaurant, etc., makes the community stronger, said AAFES officials.
The dividends, representing about 59% of Exchange earnings, go toward child, youth and school services; Armed Forces Recreation Centers; and other quality-of-life programs that support military members and their families. The remaining 41% of earnings is used to improve the shopping experience in stores and online at ShopMyExchange.com.
In the last 10 years, the Exchange has contributed $2.2 billion to morale, welfare, and recreation programs integral to Army and Air Force recruiting, readiness and resiliency.
“The Exchange is family serving family,” said Exchange Director/CEO Tom Shull. “While other retailers have a responsibility to maximize profits for shareholders, Exchange earnings improve the lives of those the organization serves—our nation’s service members, retirees, veterans and military families.”
The Exchange also serves Navy and Marine Corps communities at select locations and online. The Exchange’s 2019 dividends were distributed as follows:
• Army: $126 million
• Air Force: $75 million
• Marines: $11 million
• Navy: $5 million
Part of the Exchange’s dividend was generated by veterans. On Jan. 1, 2020, 4.1 million veterans with service-connected disabilities and certain caregivers were welcomed home with in-store shopping privileges. Since 2017, all honorably discharged veterans have been authorized to shop the Exchange online. Veterans can find out more about their earned benefits on the Exchange’s community hub page at https://bit.ly/Vets4Life.
Despite the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ever-changing retail landscape, the Exchange remains dedicated to supporting troops and their families, wherever the military mission takes them, said AAFES officials.
“We truly serve the best customers in the world,” Shull said. “There’s no greater honor than serving those who serve.” (Courtesy of AAFES News)