One of the greatest things about the Marine Gift Shop is that it gives back to the local community as well as our military community. While you and your family are stationed in Okinawa, it can be hard to find something that helps narrow that gap on y our resume. By volunteering your time, you are not only doing something great for an awesome cause, but you are also making sure your resume stays current. One of our gracious volunteers, Annette, tells about what brought her to the Marine Gift Shop and why she chooses to volunteer.


Hello! I am Annette Laird, and I am so happy to share my love of MGS with y’all! This is my family’s second time being stationed in Okinawa. We were here for 3.5 years (2013-2016) and really enjoyed our time that we jumped at the opportunity to come back. This time around I told myself I would do things a bit differently. My kids are now in high school (elementary school our first time here) and don’t need my time as much as in the past. This is where the Marine Gift Shop is/was the perfect solution to all the free time I had to spare and how I was going to do things differently! I do LOVE to read and therefore spend most of my time alone and my nose deep in a book. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and get involved in something in some way that wasn’t going to take away too much of my time from my family. MGS is perfect!! You volunteer and you put in the hours that work for you that day, week, or month! Volunteering is also a way to not only get involved but gives you the opportunity to be social and meet people. I struggle with being social, but since volunteering, I have met and made some amazing friends that I wouldn’t have had I just been home reading and hanging out with my bulldog. I’ve also become appreciative of all the sharing that has come with meeting new people while volunteering. You get so many ideas on how to decorate, host or gift give to others that I know I will be forever grateful our paths crossed. It helps pass the time too especially with the on/off restrictions we are under during these times. There is also excitement in setting up the gift shop for their openings from all the different countries. It’s like having Christmas several times a year! There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes but seeing so many come together to help make it a success is amazing. I like knowing my small part contributed to it and it’s fun!!! There’s a rush of excitement seeing people come in and get happy about something they purchased at the gift shop. Helping people purchase something for their home or even as a gift gives you that feeling that you helped make someone’s day a tad bit better. Aside from making friends and volunteering you also get to meet the local vendors that sell their items at the MGS. So not only does shopping at MGS help support charity, but they also help small business owners as well. I hope that I have piqued your interest and all my love for MGS….hope you’ll stop by to not only shop but volunteer as well!!!