News: Military families save big at ASYMCA
Story by Pfc. Nikki Phongsisattanak
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Service members and military spouses utilize many programs and resources to keep from breaking their bank. Some of these resources are right in their neighborhood.
The fear of pulling nothing but lint from pockets is avoidable for the military families who gathered to spend their buck at the Backdoor Boutique hosted at the Armed Services YMCA aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s Tarawa Terrace residential area Saturday.
The money-saving event is open to active-duty sergeants and below, and spouses. A limited number of patrons are allowed in 15 minute cycles so they’re given space to hunt for desired wares. The shelves are restocked with new items after each cycle to give every participant a fair chance of getting valued items.
“It’s a good opportunity for the families with limited or low income to get things they may need,” said Melissa Cedillo, a military spouse. “I’ve come to previous Backdoor Boutiques with a friend who introduced it me to.
Base patrons arrived as early as six in the morning to wait for the doors to open. More than a dozen people already lined up outside an hour before the eight-o’clock opening.
“I don’t mind getting up at little early because it’s worth the wait,” said Becky Lee, a military spouse who attended the boutique. “As long as you get here early enough you can get some amazing stuff. I’m addicted now.”
Nobody is pushy, and they are so welcoming, Lee added. She left with a tote full of items and a smile stretching from ear to ear.
Participants had a wide selection of wares available to them, such as canned foods, kitchen ware, clothes, toys and bed dressings.
Barbara Robinson, the program director with ASYMCA, said the items put on the shelves are things she’d use herself. Many of the items are donated from companies and all of them are thoroughly checked to ensure they’re in good condition. Damaged or dirty items are discarded.
The Backdoor Boutique can offer better savings than couponing, but patrons have no idea what products they’ll find until they enter the doors. However, every participant seemed to conclude their merchandise hunting bearing a tote full of goodies and a face full of happiness.
“It’s great to be able to have an organization that cares about the families,” said Cedillo. “Their support is wonderful.”
The boutique is held Fridays at 9 a.m. and Saturdays at 8 a.m.
For more information, call 450-0497 or visit lejeuneasymca.org