Airman's Attic: It's all about giving back

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class William Johnson
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Moving into a new home can be exciting and fun, but it can also be stressful and take its toll on Airmen's finances.

For Airmen living in the dorms, this could be their first time living on their own and they have not yet endured the financial obligations that come with moving into a new home. There are applications fees, first and last month's rent, security deposits and pet deposits. Not to mention, the cost of buying furniture and appliances.

These costs can quickly add up and may seem overbearing to some. The Airman's Attic at Dover Air Force Base can lend a helping hand to active-duty and reserve Airmen in the ranks of E-5 and below.

"The Airman's Attic is a place where Airmen are truly helping out other Airmen," said Connie Peña, volunteer coordinator. "Airmen donate their used items and other Airmen are able to come here and shop for free."

The Airman's Attic is stocked with items that can help curve new household expenses such as kitchenware, glassware, furniture, children's toys and other items to furnish a home. Airmen are allowed to obtain 20 items for children, 15 items for adults, five kitchen items and two furniture items per month.

The Airman's Attic also features a uniform room that is filled with Airman Battle Uniforms, dress blues, PT gear and low-quarters and boots. The uniforms are also free and Airmen can pick up two uniform sets per month.

Master Sgt. Breah Misho, 436th Operation Support Squadron first sergeant, was the point of contact for the First Sergeant's Council that provides general oversight of the Airman's Attic. The First Sergeant's Council also coordinates picking up donated furniture for the Airman's Attic.

"The Airman's Attic is a great tool for Airmen who are E-5 and below," said Misho. "For many of our younger Airmen, this is their first time away from home and they may not have all of the basic essentials needed to live on their own. So the attic provides them with an opportunity to save their money on common household items and spend it elsewhere when needed."

The Airman's Attic accepts almost any item as a donation except for food items. Also, large back televisions are not accepted because of the amount of space they take up. Items that are donated but sit on the shelves for a long period of time are in-turn donated to the local Goodwill in Dover, Delaware.

Volunteers make up the workforce behind the Airman's Attic and there are 12 shifts per week that Airmen can sign up to volunteer for. There is no limit to how many times you can volunteer.

Senior Airman Rachel Simmons, 436th Maintenance Group data system analyst and former lead volunteer director, said without the volunteers, the Attic would cease to exist.

"This whole operation is 100 percent volunteered based," said Simmons. "Without people to volunteer their time and more importantly volunteer their items, then we would have nothing to run here."

Volunteer work includes signing in customers, inspecting, sorting and displaying donated items and rearranging and loading furniture.

I wanted to volunteer because I recently just moved out of the dorms and I endured the cost of furnishing a new apartment from scratch," said Airman 1st Class Shane Nowrey, 3d Airlift Squadron loadmaster. "I want to make sure the Attic has enough volunteers so it can stay open and help other Airmen out and cut out some of those expenses that I paid for out of pocket."

The Airman's Attic is open Mondays from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., and Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. To donate items or volunteer, call Connie Peña at (302) 677-3731.