By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterOctober 26, 2017
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- With wares ranging from holiday decorations to toys to homemade preserves and hand-whittled ornaments, people came by the hundreds to shop at the Fort Rucker Community Spouses Club's premier fund-raising event.
The spouses club hosted its 2017 annual bazaar at Yano Hall Oct. 20-21, where more than 80 vendors offered up their goods, but this year's event saw quite the change from previous years, according to Shannon Hines, FRCSC president.
The bazaar, which typically happens closer to the holiday season in November, was rescheduled to make it easier for people in the community to fit into their schedules since November can become hectic as the holiday's inch closer, said the club president.
"We decided to go into October because November is jam packed with holidays and other events around the Wiregrass," she said. "We wanted to give it a whirl and do it in October, and kind of beat everybody to the holiday punch.
"We hope to fund all the scholarships and to give more money out to the community and the kids who deserve it, as well as the spouses," she continued. "It would be awesome to give out more money this year than we've ever given out."
The event was also changed to cover two days rather than one to give more people the opportunity to visit the bazaar and help contribute to the spouses club's cause, which includes scholarships and grants for spouses and students in the surrounding communities.
Jessica Bradford, civilian from Enterprise, said she was "blown away" by everything the bazaar had to offer.
"It's like a giant swap meet right here on Fort Rucker, and you don't really see many of those in this area," she said. "This is the kind of thing where you can find the most unique things, and it's just great to be able to get some shopping done and buy things you can't find in a store."
Bradford said her favorite aspect of the bazaar is the amount of handcrafted items she's able to purchase, which gives the items a bit more of a sentimental significance.
"A lot of these things are items that people have made themselves. They put their own time and money into creating these pieces and it just gives them a special one-of-a-kind feel," she said. "It's also nice that I feel like I'm supporting someone in their craft, as well."
In addition to supporting people's craft, Bradford said that it's good to know that by attending the bazaar she is contributing to help a good cause.
"I feel like that's just a huge bonus -- being able to help people continue their education," she said. "A lot of times it's difficult to give to charities or donate to what you think is a good cause because you don't really know where the money is going. Here, I know where it's being spent, and it's being spent on the futures of children and even military spouses who want to pursue their education, so it's nice knowing that."
The proceeds raised during the bazaar go to directly support the scholarships and community grants that the spouses club provides throughout the year, which are awarded to students and spouses of military, and Department of the Army and Department of Defense personnel.
For Emily Colton, military spouse, the support through the scholarship and grant program is nice, but having the level of support that the spouses club provides is something that she said is vital in military life.
"The spouses club is really a support system, I feel," she said. "When you're moving around a lot from different installations, it's difficult to have to make friends every single time, but having the spouses club is an easy way to connect to people who are going through the same things you're going through.
"That's why it's easy for me to support something like this," she continued. "It's not just about giving money towards a cause, but about supporting each other and making sure we're all taken care of."