• Thrift Shop profits aid local organizations

  • The Thrift Shop will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Jan. 12.

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    When out shopping it is common to want to find the best price. Many people will go to bargain shops in order to get more bang for their buck, but what if by buying used it also meant contributing to the local community? By shopping at the Fort Leavenworth Thrift Shop, it does.
    For more than 30 years, the Thrift Shop profits have resulted in several $100,000 going back to the community through its Welfare Program. The shop is currently accepting applications through Feb. 26.
    Because of the move to its current location at 1025 Sheridan Drive, the Thrift Shop put the Welfare Program on hold in 2018, but resumed it this year, said Mary Kendall, Thrift Shop manager.
    “Everyone has worked very hard to get our profits back to a point to have enough monies to assist the community organizations again,” Kendall said.
    The grants benefit organizations on Fort Leavenworth and in the surrounding community, said Sue Porter, welfare chair.
    “They are organizations that help to serve military veterans or family members,” Porter said. “They don’t have to be exclusively military, but they do have to serve the military.”
    Kendall said the Thrift Shop receives applications from more than 50 organizations each year, and Porter said grants range from less to $100 to more than $1,000.
    “The amount that we give will depend on what our profits are come February,” Kendall said.
    “We’re not able to give to everyone, but it will depend on how many applications we get and what the requests are for,” Porter added. “We can’t always give them everything they want, but we encourage them to apply anyway.”
    One of the largest recipients each year is Army Community Service, Porter said.
    According to Janice Downey, ACS division chief, the annual grant they receive helps several programs including child care and Survivor Outreach Service programs, but the Supplemental Food Program is the main recipient.
    The Supplemental Food Program provides Fort Leavenworth Commissary vouchers and gift cards to soldiers and their families who need to supplement their food needs between paychecks, Downey said.
    “The grants have helped us help the soldiers and their families,” Downey said. “We’ve helped close to 200 to 300 people with those gift certificates. So, we really benefitted from the (Thrift Shop’s) support and those people who bought there, which increased our opportunities to receive the donations.
    “It is Army taking care of Army, soldiers taking care of soldiers. When they go and purchase something at the Thrift Shop, it is like buying something maybe a little worn, but serviceable and then you give back,” she said. “The Thrift Shop is not pocketing the money. They’re redistributing it to soldier programs.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The Fort Leavenworth Spouses Club also receives a grant from the Thrift Shop to help with its annual scholarships and community assistance.
    “There’s always another college kid who is benefitting from it or a Boy Scout troop that gets to buy new tents or whatever the community assistance is that that money goes toward,” said Angela Meyer, FLSC 2nd vice president. “(The money) is crucial to us. It makes a big impact on the community all around us.”
    Other organizations that have benefitted from the Welfare Program in the past include the Council on Aging’s Meals on Wheels program in Leavenworth, Backpack Buddies, Court-Appointed Special Advocates, and Saint Vincent’s Clinic.
    “All of the organizations in the community that are requesting funds from us run on donated funds,” Porter said. “They all count on funds being donated to them. So, each one serves a purpose in the community and we’re just helping that.”
    “Everyone that is involved with the Thrift Shop has always been a volunteer in their community,” Kendall added. “This is just one way where we can all work together to make a big contribution.”
    Applications can be picked up at the Thrift Shop cash register when the shop is open or organizations can call the Thrift Shop and ask for Porter. All applications must include a description of the project the funds will be used for, the total cost of the project, the number of military members who benefit from the organization and the amount of funds raised to date.
    Applications must be dropped off at the Thrift Shop or postmarked in the mail by Feb. 26. Applications received after the deadline will not be processed. Applications can be mailed to Fort Leavenworth Thrift Shop, P.O. Box 3003, Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027.
    “We encourage them to come into the shop and pick up the application because we want them to see what we’re all about,” Porter said, “and perhaps they’ll even support us and shop here because we are open to the public. However, sometimes that is difficult so they can always call the shop. If I’m not here, I will return their call and we’ll figure something out.”
    After all the applications are received, a committee of volunteers will meet and process all of the information and present their recommendations to the Thrift Shop board in March. Each request will be voted on, and checks will be distributed in April.
    The Thrift Shop will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Jan. 12. Regular store hours are 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. For more information, call (913) 651-6768.
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