BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — Stacks of donations are pouring in at the Red Racks Thrift Store in Blue Springs.
Trunk after trunk, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
“We know people are starting to have garage sales, they’re doing their spring cleaning, and we want them to think of us as the place to bring their items to,” said Business Operations Manager, Chandra Regan.
The mission of Red Racks Thrift Stores in Kansas City dates back to 1958. Since then, it has grown to 13 locations across Missouri. They take donations, anything from clothes to home furniture, and sell them at their locations.
All proceeds from the sales then go towards Disabled American Veterans, which provides a lifetime of support for veterans.
“Those people that are currently enlisted, this is their future, so we want to build upon that foundation,” Regan said.
The efforts of the staff directly benefit veterans like David Gerke and Gerald Caldwell. Both served in Vietnam with the U.S. Navy and came home to a long journey to recovery.
“I don’t think the public understands what they’ve been through. You take a 17, 18-year-old boy and throw them into the situations they’re in… it’s rough on them,” Gerke said.
Gerke has relied on DAV for 40 years now. He is one of 10,000 to 20,000 veterans in Missouri alone. And for Caldwell, DAV helped diagnose his illnesses. He had battled complications caused by Agent Orange, a herbicide used in chemical warfare.
“They were able to give me medication, give me camaraderieship, help me through those times for me and my family,” Caldwell said.
He said many veterans often struggle to reach out for help.
"They just don’t want to,” he said of his fellow veterans.
But Veteran Service Officer, Bill Rieger, said the organization will continue to lend its hand and carry on its mission.
“Veteran needs are going to be continuous from now until ever. A community can always do more,” Rieger said.
The Red Racks Thrift Store accepts donations at their locations Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For a list of acceptable donation items, visit the store's website.