GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Bing. The point of sale machine processes a customer’s electronic payment. Crinkle. The petite, brown haired woman carefully wraps dishes in newspaper before gently placing the purchase into a bag. Swish.
With the scribble of a signature, the military veteran collects his purchase, and is out the door as a new owner of lightly used dishware.
As the customer leaves, Goodfellow Spouses’ Club President, Kelsey Ostroski smiles and greets the next Goodfellow Spouses’ Club Thrift Store customer, who was dressed in the Air Force physical training uniform and a reflective belt.
The Goodfellow Spouses’ Club Thrift Store benefits the base through volunteerism, discounts on merchandise, and by giving back to the base community.
The thrift store sells discounted items and accepts donations of lightly used items such as books, clothes, shoes, electronics, dishes, decorations, furniture, and more.
Since the store was remodeled three years ago, it has expanded in merchandise and sales.
“The remodeling opened the functions of the store and made it more welcoming and pleasant of a place to shop,” said the Thrift Store Chair, Amanda Haynes. “We’ve grown and expanded, but helping hands are always needed.”
Despite the growth in the sales and donated items, volunteerism is welcomed.
“Originally I volunteered because it was just a great way, when I moved here, to meet people and get involved with my new community,” said Haynes. “The more I learned about it, and how the club was able to give back to the community through the sales here, volunteering became a way to help other military families.”
Getting involved at the thrift store is easy as well as meaningful.
“To volunteer, come in when the store is open,” said Ostroski. “You don’t need to reserve ahead.”
In addition to getting involved in the community and helping out military families, volunteering also may help with communication.
“Even children 10 and up are welcome to come in and volunteer with a parent,” Haynes added.
Taking initiative at the thrift store may foster interpersonal communication skills, said Vice President of Goodfellow Spouses’ Club Katie Wood,. Each customer, whether active duty, retired, or civilian contractor, has different communication needs and mindsets. Being able to adapt communication styles to fit the needs of different customers is an important skill.
“It’s a good physical networking location,” said Ostroski.
“Volunteering can also help with meeting other professionals on base,” said Wood. “Lots of people come in during their lunch break.”
With multiple people coming in and out of the thrift store, it is like a hub. Volunteering in high foot traffic areas can help with networking furthermore.
“We’re not just selling things, it’s about taking care of the community as well,” said Wood. “We see a lot of young military members and young families, sometimes straight out of high school, and we’re their first interaction with the military community.”
Wood’s explanation sparked a memory for her. She remembers with a smile being young, recently married and having to learn the military lifestyle and community.
Although volunteering offers its own type of personal advantages, the thrift store also benefits the base, and local community through charitable donations.
Pots, pans and other kitchenware are always sought after for donations. Donations of military uniforms, mattresses, and undergarments are not accepted. For safety purposes, helmets, weapons and car seats are also not accepted.
The thrift store is locate in building 736 next to the Event Center, and is accessible to anyone who is affiliated with the base. Accepted items can be donated anytime during store hours, Tuesdays and Saturdays between 10 a.m.-2 p.m.