Thrift shop contributes big to local community
November 23, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (November 24, 2011) -- People can get their holiday shopping done and help their local community at the same time when they shop at the Fort Rucker Thrift Shop.
"It is an amazing feeling to be able to witness a change in lives through donations and contributions to functions and programs that impact so many lives," said Donna Woodham, manager of the Thrift Shop on Fort Rucker, describing the feeling she gets from helping out the local community.
For over 40 years, the thrift shop has supported the local community and enhanced the quality of life for the Soldiers and Families of Fort Rucker with its' staff members' selfless efforts, said Woodham.
Those that work and volunteer at the Thrift Shop make quality merchandise available for military Families to purchase at low cost, provide a venue for them to consign and sell their unwanted items, and also make a wide array of contributions that benefit people that live in the community, she said.
"The Thrift Shop relies on donations [of items] to sell in order to generate maximum profit," said Woodham. "That allows us to grant scholarships and make financial contributions to organizations in the community."
Last year, the thrift shop donated over $115,000 in scholarships and contributions to local organizations, according to Woodham. Of that number, over $29,000 went to scholarships for Soldier's Family members and over $10,000 went to local schools.
The thrift shop's scholarship program is available to graduating seniors, current college students that are Family members of Department of Defense I.D. card holders, including spouses, said Woodham.
"[The thrift shop's] decision [on who is awarded the scholarships] is based on a few criteria such as grade point average, military relation, and monetary need of the Soldier and their Family members," she said.
There is a new scholarship program currently in the works in order to better serve the members of the community, the details of which will be revealed in January, said Woodham.
Organizations that have benefited from the thrift shops contributions include: the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, the Wounded Warrior Project, Army Community Services, Scouting programs, the holiday food baskets, Disabled American Veterans, veterans hospitals, Relay for Life Wiregrass Emergency Pregnancy Service, the Veteran Affairs, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Alabama National Guard Foundation, the YMCA, local libraries, animal shelters and local schools.
Although the shop plays an enormous role in helping out the community, it is not solely responsible for the generous contributions to the people and organizations, Woodham said.
"The thrift shop is completely dependent on the support and generosity of volunteers and donors," she said, adding that the shop couldn't exist without the people that care enough to donate their time and items.
"It is important to [volunteer] at the thrift shop because in doing so, individuals have an opportunity to contribute to the community in which they live," said Woodham. "Volunteering your time or donating any usable items helps tremendously by allowing us to give even more financial assistance to local organizations."
Another service the thrift shop provides for Soldiers and their Families is consigning.
"Consigning is a service we provide for our Soldiers and their dependents," said Woodham. "The consignor receives 70 percent of the selling price and the shop takes 30 percent to help offset costs."
This is just another way that the shop can help put a little extra money in the pockets of the community, she added.
The thrift shop is located on the corner of Red Cloud Road and Fifth Avenue, in the old bank building across from the theater, and is open on Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The hours for consignment are Wednesdays, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon.
The doors of the thrift shop are open to any who wish to visit and shop; however, photo identification along with current car registration and proof of insurance are required to be allowed onto Fort Rucker.
"Make a difference in your community -- donate, shop, volunteer and consign," said Woodham. "We proudly serve those who serve our country!"