Season's Givings: Thrift Stores Raise Money for National Council of Jewish Women's Outreach

The National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles runs eight Council Thrift Stores to raise money for their outreach efforts, such as the "Women Helping Women" telephone hotline. KPCC's Kitty Felde looks at these efforts with volunteer Frances Frazen.

Kitty Felde: I'm Kitty Felde with Season's Givings.

Frances Frazen: All these racks are new items. Armani, Chanel.

Felde: Frances Frazen is showing off the designer outfits that go on sale Saturday. Not at a hot boutique, but at the Council Thrift Store in Westwood. For the past three years, Frazen has volunteered her time, overseeing sales at the eight Council Thrift shops.

Frazen: My background is. I did have an antique shop.

Felde: The stores bring in $5 million a year for the National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles. The stores began more than 80 years ago as a way to help new immigrants set up housekeeping. Now sales fund the Council's various outreach efforts, like the "Women Helping Women" telephone hotline. Frances Frazen volunteered on the hotline for ten years.

Frazen: My experience on the talk line was really in some ways traumatic even. And, but here I also feel that by contributing my time to work on these events, I'm helping to support our programs.

Felde: Retail operation manager Bob Klausner says only about 15% of those who help out at the thrift stores these days are volunteers.

Bob Klausner: I want very much to get more volunteers for us because obviously it saves us money. and that can go towards the charity that I don't have to spend for salaries.

Felde: Frances Frazen remembers when she decided it was time for her to step forward.

Frazen: I think I was personally going through a little bit of a difficult time, and I thought about doing something that would give me something else to experience. And becoming involved, truthfully, I've made incredible friends, and it's become a way of life.

Felde: Frazen says the National Council of Jewish Women is always looking for new volunteers.

Frazen: And the donations are really a lifeline for us.