JBER Base Programs Provide Monetary Incentives for Soldiers

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by Whitney LB Miller

 ANCHORAGE - Our military service men and women sacrifice so much for the good of the country and here in Alaska - many signs of gratitude are displayed. 

From discounts to special events held outside the gate to honorable programs right on JBER. 

"Never know what you're gonna come and find in a thrift store," said Stephen Jefferds who is a customer at the Richardson Thrift Shop.

Jefferds has been coming to the Thrift Shop for quite some time, even volunteering to help out around the store when things get a little busy. 
     
"We pretty much have a wide variety of items at this store, as you can see in this area this is our housewares, our furniture, we have clothes, we have some outdoor stuff, we have kids' toys, we have baby stuff, we have some military stuff, yeah we have a lot of stuff," Melissa Anderson who is the Assistant Manager of the Thrift Shop said.
 
Anderson says at least 90 percent of the items found at the shop are donated by the community, and the other ten percent is for consignment. 
 
But like most thrift shops, customers get bargain deals for these house hold essentials. 
 
"Price ranges, we try to keep everything pretty reasonable, it's all donated items, so anything we get for the items is just profit for the store that we can then turn around and then give out as welfare," said Anderson.
 
And that's what makes the Richardson Thrift Shop so unique, not only do they donate some of their proceeds to local charities, they offer a special program for soldiers and their families...The Warrior Program. 
 
"They are allowed to come into the store once, they get $25 of free apparel, so anything that would go on their bodies, to include uniforms, it's for them and their family and they get $25 a month to come in and spend as they want," Anderson said.
 
The store also offers an outlet for artists on the base - the Crafters Corner - featuring hand made trinkets and gifts made by families on base. 
 
"The Army and the Airforce, they're the JBER community, and donations back to the entire base, in helping out different organizations, getting things they need, or money they need, in other ways that they couldn't get it any other way, or they have to go out and search for money, you know with the government funding going down it's even helping some of the organizations that way," said Anderson. "Because the military you know we take care of ourselves and this is our way of helping take care of our soldiers and their families."