FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- With the holiday shopping season right around the corner, buyers can find the perfect gift at the right price at one of Fort Rucker's hidden gems.

The Fort Rucker Thrift Shop, located on the corner of Red Cloud Road and Ruf Avenue, offers a wide selection of items from clothing to appliances, and it's a local way people can save money during the holidays, according to Donna Woodham, Fort Rucker Thrift Shop manager.

"The FRTS provides a venue for customers to shop, donate, consign and volunteer," she said. "We also have fundraising opportunities available."

For more than 40 years the thrift shop has saved people money and provided a way to give back to the post community.

The Fort Rucker Thrift Shop is a non-profit 501(c)-3 organization established to generate funds, and those funds are disbursed throughout the community in the form of grants to charitable organizations for the betterment of Soldier and their families, said Terry.

"The Thrift shop raises funds for worthy causes through the sale of donated and consigned merchandise," Woodham said. "Over the years, many organizations have benefited from its financial support.

"We also donate items to the house of Ruth/Christian Charities, animal shelters and missions weekly," she added. "We have awarded over $350,000 in community grants, over $150,000 in scholarships, over $35,000 to local teachers for projects for their classrooms and thousands to our local veterans, not to mention thousands upon thousands for org days and parties for our soldiers and their families."

The thrift shop's store hours are normally Wednesdays-Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with consignment hours Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The thrift shop will be closed the week of Thanksgiving and from Dec. 16 to Jan. 2, so people are encouraged to get their holiday shopping done early.

However, the shop will open Dec. 2 as a way to say "thank you" to the community with a special invitation to Army Flier readers, according to Woodham.

"We are opening on [Dec. 2] as our gift to our customers," she said. "We will offer a special invitation to readers to come in at 9 a.m. to take advantage of early bird shopping."

Woodham encourages shoppers who have never visited a thrift store to stop by FRTS and peruse their selection of goods.

"Some might think that a [thrift shop] may be dirty or have dirty items," she said. "However, we take pride in cleaning items the best that we can prior to placement on the floor.

"Everything is priced at 1/4-1/3 of the value, unless it is new with a tag and our consignors price their own items," she added. "Soldiers in uniform receive 50 percent off an item every time they come in and we have 50 percent off sales regularly, which is announced on our Facebook.

In addition to providing customer-funded grants, FRTS gives back to the post community in additional savings.

"We provide a service to our military and DOD with consignments allowing them to keep 70 percent of what their items sell for in store," Woodham said. "We also provide a service to local military spouses to sell their crafts and retain 90 percent of what their items sell for. We also allow our home-based vendors and [Family Readiness Groups] to set up a table for free to sell their items and retain 100 percent of what their items sell for."

FRTS supports numerous grants and programs, including:

• Community Grant Program - Over $350,000 has been awarded.
• Teacher Grant Program - Over $35,000 has been awarded.
• Honoring Wiregrass Veterans - Thousands of dollars have been awarded
• Scholarships - Over $150,000 has been awarded
• Borrow! Party! Return! - A military spouse can borrow a gown, party all night and return the clean dress when finished with it.
• Hidden Treasures Shopping Showcase and Expo - A venue where home-based vendors can set up a table free of charge and sell their items.

Shopping at the thrift shop is open to the public, but guests on Fort Rucker are reminded that they will need a gate access pass in order to drive onto the installation.

For more information, visit www.fortruckerthriftshop.org, or call 255-9595.