Shopping, volunteering go together at shop
January 24, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (January 24, 2013) -- Shopping and volunteering are two activities that usually don't go together, but at the Fort Rucker Thrift Shop people have a place to donate, shop, volunteer and consign.
The Fort Rucker Thrift Shop is a non-profit 501(c)-3 organization established to generate funds, which are disbursed as grants to charitable organizations on Fort Rucker and in the local communities, to benefit Soldiers and their Families, according to Donna Woodham, manager.
"We sell merchandise to generate profit in order to give those monies back to the community through grants and scholarships," she said.
Over the years many organizations have benefited from the thrift shop's financial support.
"We contribute to the Boy and Girl Scouts, Army Community Service, wounded warriors, the Relay for Life and to local schools and libraries," she said, adding that they help more than 15 programs.
Anyone can donate something to the thrift shop by bringing it inside or by placing it in the shed in the parking lot, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The store accepts everything but mattresses, including china, clothes, books, shoes, jewelry, yard tools and toys.
"We also accept consignments on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Interested consignors are welcome to visit the shop during business hours for more information," she said, adding that consignment hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The store is open for people to shop, volunteer and donate Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the first Saturday of the month 8 a.m. to noon unless it is a holiday, in which case the store will be open the following Saturday.
The shop has been in operation for more than 40 years and officials there say it is a great opportunity to contribute to the community by donating items or by volunteering time to help sort, tag and move the merchandise.
"Even if people can't volunteer their time, by donating or shopping they are helping their community because the funds are funneled back to it," said Woodham.
For people wishing to receive tax receipts for donations, Woodham said they must come inside during business hours, but they are happy to give them out. People do not need a military ID to shop or donate at the thrift shop but do in order to consign merchandise.
The thrift shop is responsible for many scholarships and grants that are awarded each year in the community.
"Over the last few years the Fort Rucker Thrift Shop has donated [more than] $150,000 to the community, and we plan to give out more than $30,000 in scholarships this year," said Woodham.
Applications for a thrift shop scholarship can be picked up from the shop or downloaded from www.ftruckercsc.com/scholarship.htm.
The store already has unbeatable prices, but it still offers sales to Soldiers and their Families. Soldiers in uniform get half off a white ticketed item each time they come in, she said.
Brown bag sales are also a popular trend at the store, though the store is now letting local organizations arrange and take control of those events, according to Woodham.
"We are doing bag sales in a new way. We will donate items to an organization for them to have their own brown bag sale. They can have it in our parking lot or take it where they want to hold it, but they will now organize the sale and take the entire profit of the sale that they have," she said.
The shop is located on the corner of Red Cloud and Fifth Avenue in the old bank building, next door to the Fort Rucker Bowling Center, and its location to some patrons, like Army veteran Steven Durham, can't be beat.
"I like shopping here when I come to the PX [post exchange] or the commissary. It has a great location, being just down the road. You can't beat the location and you sure can't beat the prices," he said.
The shop sold 74,485 items in 2012 and plans to do even better in 2013 with the help of volunteers, consigners and donators.
"There is good value here to shop and it is for a good cause. The profits go back into the community, so everyone wins," said the manager.
The thrift shop is a private organization that is independent of Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation and spouse clubs. It accepts credit cards, cash and debit cards.