SAMS Place: Making life easier for military families
By Whitney Haskell, 17th Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 11, 2011
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Moving to a new area can be stressful for many military families. In addition to new surroundings, families also have to find a place to live, wait for household goods to arrive and deal with the never-ending task of unpacking. This is where SAMS Place can help. SAMS Place can be an amazing resource for enlisted families when dealing with the many transitions relocation can bring.
Formerly known as the Airmen's Attic, Goodfellow's Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Sailors Place, also referred to as SAMS, is more than a thrift store. Kate Ruping, SAMS Place Loan Locker Manager, likes to refer to it as a "self-help" store.
To many who shop at SAMS Place, as well as those who work there, the store is more than a collection of gently used items. It's a place for people to find home necessities to help provide for their families and contribute to their livelihoods.
"A lot of people come in and are surprised by what this place has," said Nicole Shackelford, a SAMS Place volunteer. "You see relief on their faces when they realize what they can find and that they don't have to pay out of pocket."
Just ask Paige Annunziata, a frequent SAMS Place customer, who was able to take home a VHS/DVD player when she wandered into the store one day. She said her husband was particularly happy about her fortunate find.
SAMS Place, located in Bldg. 144 behind the Airmen and Family Readiness Center, offers a wide variety of items for enlisted service members between the grades of E1-E6. Walking into SAMS Place, a customer can expect to find kitchen appliances, dinnerware, uniforms, women's and men's clothing, books, baby clothes for all ages, toys and much more.
All of these items are free of charge for SAMS Place customers. However, it is suggested that those shoppers who are E4 and above make a donation of any amount as they are able.
It is also important to keep in mind that the inventory changes quickly, so Kate recommends to customers who are looking for a particular item to "come early and come often."
Loan lockers are another great resource that SAMS Place offers. Anyone can come in at anytime and pick up either a dish kit or cooking kit (or both) for a month at a time. The loan lockers especially come in handy right after a move, when families are waiting for their household goods to arrive.
Kate encourages people to take advantage of what SAMS Place has to offer.
"The military has some wonderful programs that people just don't know about," she added.
Additionally, SAMS Place is always looking for donations.
"The more stuff I have, the more likely it is that people won't go home without something. Even if items are hanging from the ceiling; I would be happy with that," said Kate.
The store is in need of appliances, additional baby clothes, young children's clothing (especially for older boys) and diapers.
If you've just been through a move recently or are looking for ways to save money, stop by SAMS Place and see what it has to offer. You may be surprised by what you find.
SAMS Place is open: Tuesday, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Wednesday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Thursday, 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Friday, 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. -3:30 p.m.
For more information or to volunteer, call (325) 654-3298.