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Thrift Shop delivers weekend hours

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan – Marcie Winton, Thrift Shop assistant manager, (right) assists a shopper at the Thrift Shop here, Feb. 1. The shop is sponsored by the Misawa Military Officer Spouses Club and is one of the many ways the club gives back to the community. The Thrift Shop is located in building 540, which is behind the Richard Bong Theater. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Kenna Jackson)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan – Marcie Winton, Thrift Shop assistant manager, (right) assists a shopper at the Thrift Shop here, Feb. 1. The shop is sponsored by the Misawa Military Officer Spouses Club and is one of the many ways the club gives back to the community. The Thrift Shop is located in building 540, which is behind the Richard Bong Theater. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Kenna Jackson)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan – Maya Kato, a Japanese national, browses through a clothing rack at the base Thrift Shop here, Feb. 1. Kato lives off-base, but still enjoys purchasing items at the base Thrift Shop. The shop is now open on the first Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Kenna Jackson)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan – Maya Kato, a Japanese national, browses through a clothing rack at the base Thrift Shop here, Feb. 1. Kato lives off-base, but still enjoys purchasing items at the base Thrift Shop. The shop is now open on the first Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Kenna Jackson)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan – Erika Bedtelyon, Thrift Shop merchandise coordinator, checks for wear and tear on a military uniform at the shop here, Feb. 1. The shop, now open on Saturdays, offers free merchandise to E-4 and below servicemembers, as well as other free programs. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Kenna Jackson)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan – Erika Bedtelyon, Thrift Shop merchandise coordinator, checks for wear and tear on a military uniform at the shop here, Feb. 1. The shop, now open on Saturdays, offers free merchandise to E-4 and below servicemembers, as well as other free programs. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Kenna Jackson)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan – Josh Brown, Thrift Shop manager (right), checks out and bags toy trucks for a thrift shop customer here, Feb. 1. Brown has worked at the shop for 18 months, along with other paid employees and volunteers. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Kenna Jackson)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan – Josh Brown, Thrift Shop manager (right), checks out and bags toy trucks for a thrift shop customer here, Feb. 1. Brown has worked at the shop for 18 months, along with other paid employees and volunteers. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Kenna Jackson)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- The Thrift Shop here is scheduled to open the first Saturday of every month, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., starting Feb. 4.

"What we are trying to do is be more accessible to military members stationed here, to give them a chance to come in on a weekend rather than during the weekday," said Josh Brown, Thrift Shop manager.

To celebrate the additional day, 35th Fighter Wing leadership will volunteer at the shop on its first open Saturday.

"The shop hours are not changing," said Brown. "The weekday hours are still Mondays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. We are just adding the first Saturday of every month as a way to give back to those who aren't able to come here during the weekday hours."

The shop is a place where both Japanese nationals and American families stationed here can find second-hand treasures for low prices, said Pam Cozad, Thrift Shop Liaison.

"Prices range from 50 cents to the most expensive item we've sold, which was a $60 pool table," said Brown.

All of the profits, after the operating expenses and wages for a few hired employees, are distributed back to the base and the local Japanese community. Proceeds are used for educational scholarships and donations are awarded to several groups on base, such as the Red Feather Campaign, the Air Force Ball, PAWS and the Army Distaff Foundation. The shop also supports the Morioka Orphanage with donations of clothes, shoes, and toys.

The shop also provides servicemembers opportunities to save money with several programs.

The 'E-4 and Below' program offers E-4 and below enlisted members and their spouses up to $40 worth of donated merchandise free of charge each month.

The '$100 PCS' program is another opportunity specifically geared to military members E-4 and below that allows them $100 worth of free donated items during the shoppers' initial permanent change of station to Misawa. This program is to be used within 90 days upon arrival and orders must be in hand as a requirement.

Additionally the 'Free Uniform' program enables active-duty members to sign for two sets of free uniforms each month. This includes two tops, two bottoms and a pair of shoes. Military ranks, hats and physical training gear also apply to this program; however, these items are not available to dependents. Shoppers must have an active-duty identification card to receive uniformed items.

For those who wish to donate items to the Thrift Shop, there are a few things to remember.

The shop will not take in donated items that are stained, torn and/or broken, as well as undergarments and pillows. Tires, gasoline, kerosene heaters, and batteries, which would be of better use at the base Pit Stop Garage or the Auto Hobby Shop, are also not welcomed.

The Thrift Shop is sponsored by the Military Officer Spouses Club, comprised of military spouses from the Air Force, Navy and Army's officer corps and officer equivalent civilians.

"The shop is mostly run by volunteers," said Cozad. "Without them, the place would run a lot less smoothly."

"The volunteer force is really what drives us," said Brown. "We don't care if you come in for 10 minutes, there is no set time that you must volunteer, every minute helps."

The Thrift Shop is located in Building 540, behind the Richard Bong Theater. For more information or to volunteer call 226-4447.