USAG Daegu, Korea- The hit song "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, made it seem cool to buy used things back in 2012. The Camp Walker Apple Tree Gift & Thrift Shop proves "Popping Tags" can still be a cool thing by supporting the Area IV community.
The Apple Tree, operated by the Daegu Civilian & Spouses Club, doubles as a thrift and gift shop, generating funds to support the community in various ways. The club also aims to promote companionship with civilian and active duty spouses who make up this charitable entity, serving and making a difference in the Area IV community.
"The Apple Tree generates approximately 75 to 80 percent of the club's donations that are given back to the community yearly," said Danielle C. Tenconi, the DCSC president, a military spouse, and a native of London, England. "The remaining percentage of funds generated for charity comes from the many fundraisers we host throughout our Area IV community."
Tenconi explained that the money generated from local fundraising events and the Apple Tree, go right back into the community. In 2017 alone, the DCSC supported many causes by bridging gaps in funds needed to support and enhance the Area IV community.
"Last year, we gave just under $50,000 back to the community," said Tenconi. "We did that through $15,500 in scholarships given to eight Area IV young adults, and we donated the rest of the money through welfare. We supported such things as military balls, schools' sports teams and the Boy's and Girl's scouts. Any profit generated from the DCSC is given back to the community; we don't want any money left in our bank account."
The DCSC is on track to complete another year of giving back, having already donated $10,000 since the beginning of 2018. But, in order to keep giving, the DCSC must run a tight ship and they are able to accomplish this with help from the very community members they serve.
"We are a lean nonprofit organization," said Tenconi. "We get a lot of volunteers to help at the Apple Tree, and many of them are high school students and spouses who work hard and do not receive a single penny for all they do."
On top of all that giving, the DCSC still finds ways to help others through programs that young Soldiers can benefit from.
"Every month, the Apple Tree gives away over $1,000 of used merchandise through the '20 Items or Less' program," Tenconi said. "Any service member, E-5 and below, can take advantage of this program and should stop by the shop to find out how."
The Apple Tree's success and focused philanthropic efforts have opened doors for many in the community, to include the five spouses the Apple Tree employs.
"I feel very proud of how hard our team works to help generate the funds to be able to give back to our community," said Karen Bonner, manager of the Apple Tree Gift & Thrift Shop, DCSC member, and a native of Huntingdon, United Kingdom. "Our employees and volunteers are just fantastic, and it's because of them that we can continue giving to the community the way we do."
The DCSC, its cash generating gift and thrift shop, and the hard work of its members and volunteers, provide an example of a strong community dedicated to each other. The next time you are in the Area IV neighborhood, remember, your purchases at the Apple Tree make the DCSC's charitable contributions possible.