Yokota Spouses’ Club takes Asian Bazaar scholarship fundraiser online to sidestep coronavirus
By THERON GODBOLD | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 25, 2020
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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The Yokota Spouses’ Club will not allow the global coronavirus pandemic to stifle a 40-year tradition.
The club’s annual Asian Bazaar, which raises money for scholarships and other causes, has moved online as a virtual marketplace, the club president said this week. Normally the fundraiser is held in a hangar on base or at the Taiyo Community Center, allowing buyers to peruse the merchandise.
“We really wanted to do the bazaar in person, but with corona, we knew we had to try a different avenue,” club president Erin Laskey said by phone on Tuesday. “Instead of postponing we put our thinking caps on and figured a way to continue with the bazaar and ran with it.”
Items for sale are posted on the spouses’ club bazaar website, where eligible buyers with Defense Department ID cards — including service members, Defense Department civilian workers and their families — may make a purchase, Laskey said.
Furniture, home décor and other items with Asian themes are available from vendors throughout Japan. The online bazaar concludes April 12.
A percentage of the profits from the sold merchandise goes toward the club’s philanthropies, such as a scholarship fund designed to help dependents and spouses further their education.
In the past three years the Yokota Spouses’ Club has given away $84,500 in scholarships; last year alone the club doled out 13 scholarships of $2,500 each, Laskey said.
Laskey said interested buyers from area bases — Camp Zama, Yokosuka Naval Base, Naval Air Facility Atsugi and Camp Fuji — are also welcome to shop the bazaar website. The club created a website for the bazaar apart from the club website.
“Any local area bases can shop online, set a pickup time, show their ID and pick up their items,” she said. “There is a delivery option online but there is an added fee for the delivery.”