Air Force Master Sgt. Naka Turner’s son “can steal anyone’s heart.” But she said it can take up to an hour for the four-year old to brush his teeth, wash his face and get ready for the day.
He was diagnosed with autism a year ago, said Turner, who works in the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Construction and Equipment supply chain. He’s had 50 doctor appointments since that diagnosis.
Turner has leaned on autistic programs across New Jersey for support, programs that employees can donate to through the Combined Federal Campaign, the annual federal workplace charity campaign. Turner talked about how her son benefited from those programs during DLA Troop Support’s CFC kickoff event Oct. 11.
Her son was previously nonverbal and aggressive. He now forms compound sentences and expresses his feelings, she said.
“For you, it might be small. But to me, it means the world. I’m grateful to have the support of the New Jersey school systems and the autistic programs,” Turner said. “I’ll be forever indebted to the services his team and doctors have provided.”
The programs that help Turner’s son and her family are among the 10,000 charities DLA Troop Support employees can donate to through CFC.
More than 500 employees donated more than $150,000 last year, Army Col. Mark Simerly, Troop Support commander, said at the beginning of the event.
“If you think about recent events that have taken place in our country over this recent hurricane season, it’s pretty remarkable the level of need that’s out there,” he said. “If you look at all the charity listings, you should be able to find something near and dear to you.”
While there isn’t a goal to raise a certain dollar amount, Simerly said the goal is to contact all employees to inform them about the opportunity to donate.
“And it’s up to you to decide what you can afford and what organization to give to,” he said.
- The 2017 campaign runs from Oct. 2 through Jan. 12, a later start time than normal to give CFC organizers time to implement several changes:
- An online CFC portal will open soon. Employees can visit the website to enroll in the payroll deduction option, make monthly or one-time donations, and search for specific charities.
- Cash fundraisers for CFC can no longer be held. However, agencies can host events to encourage giving through CFC, but they “will focus on increasing employee awareness of CFC charities and their mission, not cash fundraising,” according to the Office of Personnel Management.
- Federal employees can volunteer time to CFC charities. Employees will be able to record those hours online at the new CFC portal.
- Retirees can now also contribute through their annuities.