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Thrift shop donation aids JBLM scholarship fund

Northwest Guardian

Published: 12:38PM January 7th, 2016
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Organization is donating $20,000 to the fund, also creating a new scholarship for spouses

Hours before the Fort Lewis Thrift Shop opens its doors, employees are busy working. The constant flow of donations must be sorted by what can be resold or tossed. Only items in near perfect condition are displayed in the two buildings. One contains clothing accessories and household goods while the other contains clothing and furniture.

All gently used items donated to the Thrift Store do more than keep the doors open. By December, the store raised nearly $100,000 for Joint Base Lewis-McChord schools, organizations and events. For the past 10 years, the Thrift Shop has also been a contributor to the Fort Lewis Family Member Scholarship Fund. This year, they are donating around $20,000 to the Fund and also creating a new scholarship for spouses.

Linda Walker, thrift shop manager, said the shop is always looking for ways to give back to the community. The thrift shop is now partnering with the Fort Lewis Family Member Scholarship Fund to help eligible spouses return to school.

“We had an employee earn a scholarship through the Fort Lewis Family Member Scholarship Fund to go back to school. It is an amazing opportunity for those looking to fund their education,” Walker said. “We wanted to help (people) like her to better themselves through education.”

Those interested in the scholarship must apply through the Fort Lewis Family Member Scholarship Fund.

Julie Maddry, Fort Lewis Family Member Scholarship Fund chair, said the process of applying helps those who may not receive this particular scholarship.

“From the spouses category, we will join efforts to grant the top scholarship to a spouse (which will be from the thrift shop) and the remaining will still be eligible for our scholarship process,” she said.

Applications are graded using a rubric with any identifying information marked out. This way, the funds are awarded to eligible graduating high school seniors, continuing education students and spouses of active and retired Army Soldiers based on the essay provided alone. The money earned can go to tuition, books and housing, but it must be paid directly to the school for use by the student.

The store is always looking for donations, but it has strict restrictions on what actually ends up on the shelves.

“The best way people can help us to continue donating to the JBLM schools and organizations is to only give us sellable items,” Walker said. “The longer we spend throwing away broken or dirty items, the less time we have to stock the store with desired items.”

Walker said they are also accepting applications. It’s hard work, but it does a lot of good for this community, she added.

For more information on the thrift shop, donation times, hours and upcoming sales, visit The thrift shop is located at 2071 Pendleton Ave., Building 2070 and 2071, right next to eachother, on Lewis Main. Normal hours Tuesdays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and the first Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donations are always welcome in the designated area at posted times or in the big, red shed out front.

Scholarship applications are available now at and are due by March 25. Winners will be invited to attend a celebratory ceremony in May.