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Airman’s Attic: Airmen help Airmen by donating needed items

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Carissa Morgan
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
The Air Force offers a resource where Airmen can help other Airmen, their fellow wingmen, by donating gently used items to the Airman's Attic. 

"The attic is a critical resource to our young families as well as single Airmen just starting out," said Senior Master Sgt. Chanda Johnston, superintendent of the Airman and Family Readiness Center. "Setting up a home is financially challenging on an Airman's salary." 

The Airman's Attic is a facility where junior enlisted Airmen and their families can go to get free donated goods. All items are free for Airmen who are E-5 and below and there is usually a limit of items per week. 

A plethora of items ranging from baby supplies to military uniforms can be found at the attic. These items are second hand, but gently used. Some items are diamonds in the rough with the price tags still attached. 

"I can't believe I'm getting what used to be a $26 dress for free," said Senior Airman Amy Rockwell, 36th Munitions Squadron crew chief. "This place is wonderful for someone like me who bargain shops." 

All the items are donated from anyone who wants to contribute.
The Airman's Attic was recently revamped after the management changed hands. Dawn Hitt and Jettie Tolbert recently took over as managers. 

"We completely tore this place apart and started over," said Ms. Hitt. "We changed our hours to accommodate military members who wanted to come here during lunch and we also are open on every second and fourth Saturday of each month for those servicemembers who cannot make it during the week." 

"We entirely reorganized so it would be easier for our patrons to find what they need in the Airman's Attic and we now have a policy where we try getting all donations out onto the floor the same day they are received so they are immediately available for our patrons," said Ms. Hitt. 

All the management and employees of the Airman's Attic are strictly volunteer.
"We are also under entirely new management and all volunteers are new as well," said Ms. Hitt. 

"I usually try to come here at least two times a month," said Jacquelyn Newell, a mother of one. "This is a great place to find things because all the items are constantly changing." 

"This place is a good place to come if you are expecting a child or have small children," said Erica Opena, mother of one and soon to be two. "You can find anything you need for a new baby nearly, and even if you can't there's a wish list." 

"We also provide a free baby gift package for our expecting and new parents," said Sgt. Johnston. 

The wish list is a list where patrons can give their contact information to the Airman's Attic and when the desired item is donated they are contacted before anyone else. 

"The wish list is really good for someone who is looking for something in particular and has exhausted all other resources to find it," said Ms. Hitt. "We may not have the item the person wants either, but by having a wish list we ensure that if the item rolls into the Airman's Attic our patron knows." 

There is a limit on the number of items people may take, but that limit changes each week. 

"Depending on how many donations we receive is how many items there are allowed per week," said Ms. Hitt. "This week the limit is 40 items because we had a big influx of items." 

However, every first Friday of the month, the Airman's Attic is open to all ranks for shopping. 

Items that can be donated consist of or can include any small household items, small appliances, toys, clothes, unopened non-perishable food items and baby items.
Donations that cannot be accepted include washers, dryers, refrigerators, stoves, gas/motor oil, auto tires, large mattresses (other than toddler/crib), undergarments, swimsuits, cleaning supplies -- unless they are not opened, and baby pacifiers/bottle nipples -- unless in a new package. 

The items that are donated to the Airman's Attic are put to use. 

"On several occasions, Airmen that have needed Air Force Aid emergency assistance due to financial crisis have been authorized an increased limit of Attic items (or after-hours access) in order to help them through a short-term need," said Sgt. Johnston. "Two examples of families who have benefited from the Airman's Attic are an Andersen family whose home and personal belongings were severely damaged by fire, and a young family going on emergency leave to a cold-weather location that had no cold weather clothing for their children." 

Airman's Attic management prefers to get donations during store hours; however, one can drop off their donated items in a small storage bin provided at the back door for after-hours use. If large items such as a lounge chair are going to be donated, the staff prefers that a phone call precedes the donation arrival.

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