Airman’s Attic: Please don’t donate junk

By DANA RIMINGTON

Hilltop Times Correspondent

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — The Airman’s Attic has been serving the needs of Airmen stationed at Hill AFB and Department of Defense personnel for many years, but the donation center is seeing an increase in unacceptable donations. 

Although the center appreciates donations, it is not set up to accommodate the large furniture, garbage items, soiled linens and expired canned goods that are being left on-site. 

“We do not have the space to store them or the manpower and vehicles to transport them. Every time someone donates large unserviceable items, we have to take those items to the local dump,” said Master Sgt. Wyman Herring. “Not only is it hard to transport these items, but it costs the Airman’s Attic money to take items to the dump. Money we do not have.”

The program helps fill needs with clothing, uniforms, shoes, books, small kitchen items, and electronics. Airman’s Attic also has a pantry to help families who have fallen on hard times. 

“We have also had issues with soiled clothes and expired canned goods being donated. We can only give food that is not expired, and we do not have facilities to clean clothes,” Herring said. 

Authorized items donated to the Airman’s Attic can be dropped off at any time on their back dock, located on the west end of Building 150 across from the BX. Program administrators ask that nothing be taken off the dock from previous donations so they have a chance to sort through all donations to make sure they are not soiled, ripped, or damaged in any way before putting them on display or donated to other shelters. 

Airman’s Attic is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesday from 5  to 7 p.m. Customers need to show their military issued ID and sign in. Customers can pick out what they need and are asked not to sell any of the items they get from the Airman’s Attic.

The program is successful because of their volunteers, according to Herring. “Our volunteers are the backbone of the Airman’s Attic. We would not have an Airman’s Attic without their dedication and hard work,” said Herring. There is always a need for more volunteers. Anyone interested can contact Herring at 801-777-9997 or Senior Airman Michael Barker at 801-586-2223.

Shannon Cuneio has been volunteering for over a year. “It’s such a great thing for Airmen to come and get the things they need for free. I feel like I am really helping people, and it’s a way I can give back,” Cuneio said. 

She has seen the increase in items the donation center can’t accept. “For a while, base housing used to pick up bulk trash, but now they only do it twice a year, so everybody started bringing us their garbage,” said Cuneio. “We then had to sort through and haul it off — it has become very difficult.”

Since fundraising efforts have decreased recently, the program is in dire need of nonperishable canned goods that haven’t expired, Cuneio says. Donated goods can be left at the covered dock at any time. 

Families are allowed to take nonperishable items from the shelves and are provided with a $25 commissary card to buy items such as milk, produce and meat. They are allowed to use the food pantry once with no requirement to prove need. Their next visit is accompanied by a permission sheet signed by either the first sergeant, Airman & Family Readiness Center or Family Advocacy. 

“We work very closely with the first sergeants, Family Advocacy and the Airman & Family Readiness Center to make sure all of their needs are met,” Herring said.