The Belvoir Thrift Shop has been hard at work this year raising money to give out in the form of grants and scholarships to organizations, programs and individuals on post.

For the calendar year 2011, the Thrift Shop's charitable contributions to the Fort Belvoir community totaled $55,875. Also, 46 volunteers have donated 4,011 hours at the Thrift Shop so far this year.

"We only raised $27,000 in 2010, so we are really excited we could give double that this year," said Jackie Baer, Belvoir Thrift Shop administrator. Baer added the increase was due to "hard work, trying to be efficient in what we do and continued support from the community because that's what helps us the most."

$10,000 was given out this year in the form of scholarships. The Thrift Shop gives out 10, $1,000 scholarships every year to Fort Belvoir affiliated applicants.

Belvoir affiliated applicants are individuals who live or work on post, are deployed from, or who are stationed on post. Eligible applicants can also have a Family member who has completed 60 volunteer hours of service at one of the agencies on post during the previous year.

There are three categories of scholarships: The first is the Academic Achievement Award which is for high school seniors who will be full time students pursuing an undergraduate degree at an accredited college or university.

The second is the Undergraduate Achievement Award which is for full time, unmarried undergraduate students pursuing their first undergraduate degree at an accredited 2 or 4 year college or university.

The third is the Continuing Education Scholarship which is for a military spouse who will be attending an accredited institution of higher learning (i.e. junior college, college or university, trade or technical school) for the upcoming year/semester. Master's and doctoral degrees are excluded.

Individuals can receive two scholarships from the thrift shop in the form of an Academic Achievement Award and an Undergraduate Achievement Award, or two Undergraduate Achievement Awards or two Continuing Education Awards.

The Thrift Shop's scholarship program is unique in that the check is only made out to the student. Most scholarship programs make funds out to both the student and the university the recipient is attending.

"If a student is receiving financial aid and they get a scholarship the college deducts the amount of the scholarship from the financial aid package," Baer said. "We don't think that's fair. We are giving this student an academic achievement award. We make our checks out to the student and as long as it's used to pay for college related expenses that's fine."

The grant program at the Thrift Shop is instrumental in several big programs on post. The Thrift Shop is the sole supporter of The CARE team which is Army Community Service Mobilization, Deployment and Family Readiness Offices Casualty Response Group.

"We started The CARE team two years ago," said Carol Janer, ACS mobilization and deployment program manager. "They paid for all the initial start up stuff we needed like supplies and training for the volunteers. They pay for any ongoing child care we need or if we get into a home and there's no groceries we can go out and buy groceries with the funds they donate to us."

The Thrift Shop is also the sole source of income for the Barden Education Center's Tuitext Program.
The Tuitext Program rewards a Soldier taking college courses with money to help pay for their books. The Soldier receives $15 for an A and $10 for a B earned during the completed semester.

"If a servicemember gets $25 that semester because he or she got an A and a B that's great," said Baer. "They've got a little extra money for books."

Another grant made this year that is very pleasing for the Thrift Shop, according to Baer, is the grant they were able to give to Van Noy Library.

"It has been a long time since there has been the money to replenish the military history section of that library," said Baer. "So, they got a grant this year to buy new military history books and they were thrilled to do so."

Page last updated Thu December 15th, 2011 at 14:53