Home of Heroes Thrift Shop improves Fort Johnson quality of life

By Angie ThorneDecember 20, 2023

Home of Heroes Thrift Shop improves Fort Johnson quality of life
Fort Johnson Thrift Shop customers love to hunt for treasures on the racks and shelves of the store. (Photo Credit: Angie Thorne) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT JOHNSON, La. — If you are looking to purchase something you need, there’s a chance you’ll find it at the Fort Johnson Home of Heroes Thrift Shop, 830 Colorado Ave. You can find gently used household goods, furniture, clothes and more at an affordable price.

However, the Thrift Shop isn’t just about providing the community with shoes and food processors. It’s also about taking the money made at the shop and putting it back into the community in meaningful and necessary ways through grants.

Samantha Rowlands, Thrift Shop manager, said the store plays an essential role in Fort Johnson’s quality of life.

“I always tell people that come into the Thrift Shop, ‘help us help you,’” Rowlands said.

With this theme in mind, the Thrift Shop continues to grow each year.

“My ultimate goal is to continue expanding our profits to increase the number of grants we can provide,” Rowlands said.

In 2022, the Thrift Shop gave away a more than $100,000. In the current fiscal year they have already given away more than $17,000.

Rowlands is invested in continuing to help the Fort Johnson community.

“I work hard because I can see the positive impact the Thrift Shop makes on the people who need it most,” she said.

Alton Warwick, a frequent Thrift Shop customer, visits the store often and has always been a thrifter.

“I love the thrill of finding something amazing,” Warwick said. “The people are friendly, the prices reasonable and the sales are great.”

Jessica Reiter, Thrift Shop publicity chair, said so many times the funds the Thrift Shop provides is what keeps organizations going.

“Sometimes they can’t afford to accomplish what they need to and we can help them,” Reiter said.

The Thrift Shop helps a wide variety of people and organizations including everything from the installation chaplains and local schools to community groups, sports teams, student scholarships and more.

How does the Thrift Shop continue to be successful? Endless variety. Thrift shops gather their stock from the surrounding community. The difference between Fort Johnson’s shop and other donation-based stores is the donations offered by the Soldiers and Families have a more international flair based on the variety of places they have lived.

“We get donations from all over the world because that’s where our Soldiers and Families have traveled,” Reiter said. “That means we have a truly eclectic supply of merchandise for people to browse through. You just never know what kind of treasure you’ll find.”

Another key to the Thrift Shop’s success is its volunteers.

“The Thrift Shop couldn’t run without our volunteers — those that help run the shop and are part of the board,” Rowlands said.

If you would like to help continue making the Thrift Shop a success, volunteers are always welcome. Volunteers ages 13-15 must volunteer with a parent. Volunteers 16 and older can volunteer by themselves. Volunteers can either stop by the shop to speak with the manager or email the volunteer chair at hohthriftshop.volunteer@gmail.com

To apply for a grant email the Thrift Shop grant chair at hohthriftshop.grants@gmail.com. 

For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/HomeofHeroesThriftShop/