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Thrift Store
The Charleston branch of the Navy Wives Clubs of America operates the Castaway Thrift Shop on Fletcher Street at Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station. The thrift shop is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for patrons to shop while donations are always accepted in the large, white donation box located at the front of the building. The NWCA uses their proceeds to extend relief assistance to service members and their families in need. (U.S. Navy photo/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brannon Deugan)
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NWCA ready and able to lend a helping hand

Posted 7/26/2011   Updated 7/28/2011 Email story   Print story


by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brannon Deugan
Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs Office

7/26/2011 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Donations of gently used uniforms, clothing, books, toys and household items can be found at the Castaways Thrift Shop on Fletcher Street at Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station. The shop is operated by the volunteers of the Navy Wives Clubs of America.

The NWCA is the country's only national federation of sea service spouses and extends relief assistance to service members and their families in crisis while fostering a spirit of fellowship among its members and the civilian community.

"The NWCA is an important nationwide organization that is committed to providing aid in a variety of ways," said Naval Support Activity Command Master Chief Billy Cady.

"Besides operating the Castaways Thrift Shop which sells slightly used uniform items and civilian clothes at a very low price, the club also donates money, provides loans and clothing at little or no cost to assault victims."

"These ladies are energetic and looking to help in any way they can," he continued.

Twenty women form the JB CHS - WS branch and the membership consists of spouses of enlisted active duty and retired or honorably discharged service members from the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The members volunteer in the thrift shop by collecting and reselling donations to fund the organizations' works.

"Five percent of what we make at the thrift shop goes to operating costs but the other 95 percent is handed out in the form of donations to military families or the local community," said Linda Hedden, NWCA recording secretary.

"Besides helping our active duty Sailors and families, we also try to help out in the community by holding functions such as a Goose Creek High School football team dinner, an Ombudsman luncheon and a lot of assistance to the Fleet and Family Support Center."

Last year the Charleston NWCA was able to provide more than $16,000 in monetary donations to the local community and service members in need. The money enabled more than 27 military and civilian families to purchase food or pay bills, provided five local elementary schools with school supplies and assisted other community organizations in providing services.

The thrift shop also provides "In Kind Donations" which gifted more than $550.00 of merchandise from the thrift shop last year.

"Commands and Ombudsmen will call about a situation that an individual or family is struggling through," Hedden said. "We'll give the family groceries, pay an electric bill or do an In Kind Donation where we open the thrift shop for that family to get whatever they need at no charge."

Darlene Cousins, co-chairman of the Castaways Thrift Shop said she will always remember the assistance she and her family received from the NWCA during tough times.

"In 1983, my husband was a chief petty officer in the Navy and we had five kids when our house burned down," said Cousins. "I had never heard of the club and they gave us so much because we had lost everything. It was such a big help. Shortly following that, I joined the club and have been a member ever since."

"When the NWCA helps somebody out, I get goose bumps and I have such a sense of accomplishment and it feels so good," said Hedden. "When we buy a family groceries or clothes for their children and we're able to help out, even if it is something small, it makes me so happy because I know we were able to help someone in need."

The Castaways Thrift Shop is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturday sfrom 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donations are always being accepted at the thrift shop drop box. For more information please call the Castaways Thrift Shop at 764-7136.

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