Story and photos by Amanda Sullivan
If you are looking for a way to make some extra money or a good cause to donate to, look no further than the Fort Leonard Wood Thrift Shop. The store offers a variety of discounted items, including home décor, toys, furniture, military uniforms and clothing.
Proceeds from store purchases go back to Fort Leonard Wood and surrounding communities in a variety of ways to include scholarships and grants.
“The thrift shop awarded $59,587 to civic and school organizations for the 2017/2018 year so far,” said Michele Evans, Fort Leonard Wood Thrift Shop store manager.
Struggling families in the community can also benefit from the thrift shop. With a referral, those in need can receive help with clothing, shoes, home goods and other items.
“Families in need should be referred to the thrift shop by an approved agency such as, but not limited to, Army Community Service, Army Emergency Relief, crisis center, chaplain’s office, fire department, schools or other social service agencies,” Evans said. “The thrift shop can also authorize a one-time grant to provide emergency response and /or relief for those affected by emergencies or natural disasters.”
Consignment is available for those looking to make a profit on their gently used items.
Consignors set the price for the item and the split is 75/25, with consignors receiving 75 percent of the profit for the item sold, and the store receiving 25 percent.
The store is open to and accepts donations from the public, however, there are limits when it comes to consignors.
Consignors must be 18 years of age and possess a valid Department of Defense identification card. Consignments are limited to 14 items per day, six of which can be clothing.
The store accepts most items for consignment unless they are on the weekly restricted list or an item movers would not accept for a permanent change of station. You can find more information on accepted items under the “Calendar” section of their website www.flwthriftshop.embarqspace.com.
Donations can be made by dropping items off at the loading dock behind the store or bringing them into the store itself.
In addition to providing financial benefits and assistance to the community, the store is an environmentally-friendly establishment. Evans said donated items that are out of season, worn, or otherwise unable to be sold are picked up and recycled through a company in St. Louis rather than being thrown into the landfill. The store is paid by weight for the recycled items, which places the money back into the community.
Items that cannot be sold, but are still usable, are placed into a bin located at the entrance of the store where patrons can take them for free.
Donated cleaning products are not thrown away, instead they are made available to anyone who needs them.
“We have a pay it forward program for household cleaning products. Cleaning products that are donated at the thrift shop are placed in a controlled area for anyone who can use them. Moving and setting up from a PCS can be expensive, so this is a great way to recycle those products,” Evans said.
Cleaning products can be donated by placing them with other donations in the proper donation areas. If you need cleaning supplies, they can be found in a bin near the register. Availability of supplies varies day to day and they ask that you not take everything, just what you can use.
For those in need of volunteer hours over the summer, the thrift shop is an option.
Evans said the store needs and welcomes volunteers. “The thrift shop is a great place for patrons who are looking for volunteer hours for high school, college, military school or just looking to get out of the house and give back to the community,” Evans said. “You must be 16 years of age and hold a military/DOD card. We welcome volunteers anytime,” she added.
The store is in Building 493 on Replacement Avenue, between Army Community Service and Popeyes Chicken. Hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays and occasional Saturdays. For more information, call 573.329.4707.