FORT POLK, La. — The Fort Polk Thrift Shop has seen several changes since its grand reopening on June 5. Now located in bldg 830 — the old commissary location — the thrift shop is also under new management. As of June 15, Jasmin Morrow, the previous assistant manager, took the reins as thrift shop manager from Martina Piazzon, who is moving to Fort Benning, Georgia due to her husband’s permanent change of station orders.COVID-19 mitigation efforts have imposed their own set of changes for the thrift shop.“We have a limit of 40 customers — including children. Everyone must wear masks; and we invite every patron to use hand sanitizer,” said Piazzon.“For the register, we couldn’t find a piece of Plexiglas, so we got creative: we took two large frames with the plastic inserts and hung them from the wall. Cashiers now look like living, framed portraits.”Despite these major transitions for the thrift shop, most of its operations remain the same. As of June 8, the store has resumed normal operating hours: They are open Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Wednesday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.Donations, accepted behind the new location, still run the same way.“The donation bin is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To access the bins in the back, donors need to go through the gravel road on the side of the building where a ‘do not enter sign’ is located — just ignore the sign,” Piazzon said.Acceptable donations include any second-hand items (household goods, clothing, accessories, luggage, toys, furniture, books and movies) that are still in good condition, said Piazzon.“Please, don’t send items with stains, odors or any other unpleasant surprises,” she said.When items are donated that cannot be sold, Piazzon said they have procedures for that as well.“We try not to throw anything away. We usually redirect the donations to people in need, pregnancy centers, victims of natural disasters, the Humane Society and the Red Cross.”Piazzon also explained that, in an effort to reduce waste and reuse anything that can be saved, the display cases in the thrift shop are all repurposed items. There are purses displayed on the remnants of a headboard and shoes resting on the same bed’s footboard. “Everything we built at the new location was made with donated items; we love to recycle and repurpose everything we can,” she said.The repurposed items are often built with the help of a group of well-appreciated thrift shop volunteers.Morrow, who started as a thrift shop volunteer, said, “The shop couldn’t run without the help of volunteers.”“Volunteers come in whenever they can and for as long as they can; there isn’t a schedule they commit to follow,” Morrow said. “We bring volunteers in and show them around the shop; we allow them to find a task that they feel content doing.”Morrow explained that volunteers’ hours are logged and tracked through a volunteer coordinator, and volunteer information is reported to Army Community Services.Despite the hurdles of COVID-19, a large-scale move and the difficulties associated with transitions, the Fort Polk Thrift Shop continues its mission through hard work and gratitude.“We really appreciate our donors, customers and volunteers. We would not exist without them. All proceeds go right back in our military community. Our proceeds help support educational projects, sport activities and scholarships,” said Piazzon.