Last year the volunteers of the Wright-Patterson Officers' Spouses' Club raised almost $40,000 to benefit its welfare fund and make disbursements to 23 organizations and award 14 scholarships. It does so through the base Thrift Shop and mah jongg booklet sales.
This year, of course, things have been different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the shop’s manager said she and fellow volunteers hope sales will regain momentum after being curtailed for 28 weeks.
“We’ve consulted with 88th Medical Group’s Public Health Flight personnel,” said Beth Newberry. "Plexiglas panels separate customers from volunteers at the register and consignment counters. We clean and sanitize frequently. We’re trying to protect everyone, and consigners are actually being given more days for their items to be sold.
“Our smaller store is also an advantage during these times – we don’t have as many shoppers as a large box store does,” she said.
The shop, located at 5265 Miller St., Bldg. 95, near the intersection of Wright Avenue and Allbrook Drive, Area A, is normally open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. to anyone who has base access. It also will be open Saturdays for sales only from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 7 and Dec. 5. Dates are subject to change.
Cash, checks, Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express are acceptable methods of payment.
In the event of weather delays and closures, the shop follows the status of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Fairborn City Schools.
Appointments to consign items are spaced apart and are made by calling 937-306-8062, ext. 3, during business hours. The shop takes consignments as long as the person has a valid Department of Defense identification card.
“The appointments are working well for everyone,” she said. “Consigners like being able to come in and drop off their items without waiting in line.”
Donations are accepted during business hours. All donations and consigned items are stored for at least 72 hours before being processed for sale.
“The people who consign here are getting items out of their home and welcome the extra money they make,” Newberry said. “We also have new people shopping all the time – we just had someone come in and purchase some items as they wait on their household goods to arrive.”
The shop’s inventory is highlighted on its Facebook page, WPOSC THRIFT SHOP.
“I had a photo of a fisherman-themed teapot on the page and a gentleman came in specifically to purchase that, and ended up with a number of other things, too,” she said.
“There are always unique items here, too. It’s never quite the same and you’re never going to know what you’ll find here,” Newberry said. “It’s a treasure hunt.”
A wide variety of merchandise, such as clothing, household appliances and furniture, is available; the inventory changes frequently. Newberry said the stock now includes fall and winter apparel, Halloween and Thanksgiving items; Christmas items will start appearing Nov. 10.
A popular item every year is the White House Historical Association’s official White House Christmas ornament. This year honors John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the U.S., using his official portrait. The ornaments are $22 each or 10 for $200.
The shop’s welcoming atmosphere also offers the sense of community, the manager said.
“A lot of what people have been missing during the pandemic is socialization, and we’ve heard from people how glad they are we are open again. We’re glad to see them, too,” Newberry said. "To see our regular shoppers and consigners and know they are healthy is wonderful. When you don’t see people for 28 weeks, you worry. Between the volunteers, shoppers and consigners, we are happy to see one another again.
“We’re happy to be back and in business, raising funds and seeing friends. You’re doing good shopping here. You’re not only getting good deals, but you are helping our community,” she said.
Information on shopping or volunteering, plus what can and cannot be donated or consigned, can be found online at www.wrightpattersonosc.org, by calling the shop during business hours at 937-879-5630, or by visiting the club’s Facebook page at WPOSC THRIFT SHOP.
Wright-Patterson Officers' Spouses' Club 2019-2020 giving disbursements
· WPAFB military: Fisher Houses, AFSA Thanksgiving Program, Dorm Council, SNCO Induction Ceremony, Family Services Operation Stork, USO Holiday Party, 88 ABW Annual Awards, United Through Reading, Wright State University Air Force ROTC, Airman Systems Directorate, Wright-Patt Top 3
· Scholarships: 14 scholarships awarded – 13 high school seniors from 10 different high schools, 1 spouse
· Miami Valley: The Food Bank, Dayton Project Linus, Hospice of Dayton, Feed the Creek, Hannah’s Treasure Chest, Montgomery County Court Appointed Special Advocates, Creek Safe
· National military: Air Force Enlisted Village, Air Force Village, Air Force Aid Society, Company Grade Officers' Council Run for the Fallen, EOD Warrior Foundation