Forgotten Soldiers Outreach, the nonprofit organization that has been shipping care packages and letters to U.S. soldiers serving overseas for 10 years, will open its first thrift store Saturday in the Buttonwood Plaza shopping center.
Founder Lynelle Zelnar said the thrift store — already stocked with donated furniture, china, televisions, clothing and books — will help support the organization’s packing operation in Lake Worth and will be used to supply returning veterans with furnishings for their homes.
Veterans who show their military credentials will be eligible for vouchers that allow them to take home a limited amount of free furniture and decorative items from the thrift store, at the southeast corner of 10th Avenue North and Jog Road.
Special prices will be offered to veterans every day.
“This way we’re helping those overseas and those at home,” Zelnar said.
Mike Zelnar, an Air Force veteran, will manage the thrift store, which is accepting donations of marketable furniture, electronics, artwork, books and clothing.
Mayor Sam Ferreri is scheduled to attend Saturday’s grand opening, set to begin at 10 a.m. with a ribbon cutting.
The thrift store’s grand opening will include patriotic country music by the J.D. Danner Band. Food such as meatball cones, lasagna pie and sugar cane juice smoothies will be for sale. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of food and crafts created by members of the Buttonwood Plaza Artisans’ Market will be donated to Forgotten Soldiers Outreach.
The thrift store’s grand opening party will double as a 10th anniversary party for Forgotten Soldiers Outreach, an organization Zelnar formed by accident after she started shipping care packages to the son of a co-worker who was serving in Iraq in 2003.
After schools and other organizations learned that Zelnar was sending care packages to soldiers, the idea snowballed and led to the formation of Forgotten Soldiers Outreach. The nonprofit organization, which relies heavily on volunteers, sends boxes of supplies and letters of encouragement to more than 1,200 active military personnel who are serving overseas.
The new thrift store will be open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday. It will be closed on Mondays.
What: Grand opening for the Forgotten Soldiers Outreach thrift store
When: 10 a.m. until noon Saturday
Where: Buttonwood Plaza shopping center, southeast corner of 10th Avenue North and Jog Road
Entertainment: J.D. Danner Band
Food: Meatball cones, lazagna pie, gluten-free pastries and smoothies for sale
For information: Call the thrift store at 561-313-7699.