A recent post about uniforms and thrift shops generated some comments that made me realize that some people might not completely understand how all-around amazing on-base thrift shops are for the overall community. Did you know that your base thrift shop is run by a private, charitable organization, and that the profits from the thrift shop go right back into your community?
Every base is different, but the general concept is the same. A private organization, often a spouse club, runs the thrift shop, and then they have some process for using the profits to support the base and it's population.
For example, at my last base, the thrift store was run by the spouses' club, and staffed by spouses' club volunteers. We made over $100,000 every year, and that was returned to the community the form of scholarships (about $50,000 per year), grants to various community groups, such as sports teams, the Red Cross and school activities, and physical donations to other organizations to support their needs. The support provided by the spouses' club literally helped hundreds of people every single year. It was a great thing!
On Navy bases, the thrift store is often run by Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. Profits are reinvested into grants and loans for sailors and Marines facing financial challenges, new baby "seabags," and classes and individual counseling.
Not only do base thrift stores offer fantastic prices on clothing, housewares, toys and books, (and uniforms!), but the money you spend will be put right back into the people and activities on your base. I buy nearly all my family's clothes at our base thrift shop, and I am always glad to hand over my money because I know that it will be used for good purposes. Plus, with the super-low prices, I don't feel guilty if an item doesn't work out. I just re-donate it, and feel good that it will go to someone else who can use it and continue to generate revenue for the organization.