Feeling Good About Buying Second-Hand: Goodwill and Council Thrift Shops Make It Stylish to Give Back

Two of the most important reasons I shop at a thrift store is to (a) obtain timeless, stylish gear on a budget, and (b) to help others. Goodwill Industries International, Inc. and National Jewish Women Los Angeles are the charities, who have the best chain shops in Los Angeles that meet this criteria.

Not Charity, but a Chance.

Goodwill’s philosophy

While the Mission Statement of each is tailored to reflect the organization, their overall goal is to “enhance and improve the quality of life for individuals and families facing poverty, homelessness, mental and physical disabilities and unemployment.” Goodwill’s history, based on the philosophy, “Not Charity, but a Chance” was founded in 1902 by Reverend Edgar J. Helms, “a Methodist minister and social innovator.” Initially, they provided “indigent citizens with unwanted goods collected from the wealthy they were hired and trained to repair.” In order to provide them with quality items, at no or low cost, the items were then either re-sold to the employees who fixed them or given to them.

Doing Good and Providing Experience

Today their main focus is to provide training to job seekers and offer programs for seniors, veterans, the disabled and others. Ranked by consumers on the 2017 Brand World Value Index as number one in “doing the most good two consecutive years in a row”, in 2016 they trained and secured employment for over 313,000 people in “IT, banking and health careers” with donations and retail sales of $4.16 billion from “more than 3,20o stores and an online auction site.”

Daniella Wallace (goodwillista.blogspot.com) and The Goodwill Blog, with blogs like Spring Closet Cure by Julia Marchand, also make shopping at their thrift stores worthwhile by providing consumers with tips on what to buy and how to coordinate their finds according to contemporary runway trends.

Charles Jackson, 2016’s Achiever of the Year, and General Manager for the Goodwill thrift store in Central Texas for the past 10 years, can definitely thank Goodwill for turning his life around.

“Twenty years ago, before I became a general manager, I was working as a manager for a Rent-to-Own store by day and selling drugs by night,” he says. “I was arrested, and after spending 24 months in jail I had a difficult time getting a job. I felt like I had “convict” stamped on my forehead.” After going to 20 places, and receiving a ‘No’ at all of them, he finally went to Goodwill where they welcomed him with respect. There was a job opening for a manager, so he applied for it, and got it.

“Now, my days consist of making sure we meet our production goals, organizing the clothing so that they’re in their proper category, and encouraging our cashiers to greet everyone who comes into our stores,” he said. Relieved that he isn’t incarcerated any longer, he believes Goodwill also gave him a second chance to be there for his family.

National Council Jewish Women (NCJW)Thrift Shops

Black print blouse by Emanuel Ungaro (Council Thrift Shops)

National Council Jewish Women (NCJW) was originally founded by Hannah J. Solomon following the 1893 World Exposition Chicago. The Los Angeles chapter was subsequently founded in 1909 by Rachel Kauffman. Patterned on the three Jewish values: Kavod Ha Bri’ot: Respect and Dignity of all Human Beings, Talmud Torah: Education and Awareness, and Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof: The Pursuit of Justice they provide services for more than 12,000 people through their Community Mental Health, Youth Educational and Social Advocacy programs. Their annual “free clothing giveaway” is their largest, and most popular charitable event of the year providing additional resources to those attending.

But it’s through their eight Council Thrift Shops where they earn the most significant amount of revenue to support these programs. “The shops are the main money makers for the organization,” said Cory, a company spokesperson at their MarVista, California location. “After we receive our intake, from sales, we then deposit them in the main organizational account daily.”

Known in Southern California, for high-quality designer clothing, accessories, furniture, etc., on April 23, 2014, in homage to Issey Miyake, a writer for their blog celebrated “his designs that came through their stores in the ensuing months.”

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether I luck out with a white Theory sleeveless top from Goodwill or a green Marc Jacobs bag at Council Thrift Shop, because the real payoff is knowing someone’s life will benefit from my purchases.

Works Cited:

Marchand, Julia. “Spring Closet Cure”, http://www.goodwill.org/blog/shop/spring-closet-cure/.

Beverly Hills Courier Staff. “National Council of Jewish Women Sets Annual Clothing Giveaway, Volunteers Sought”, Beverly Hills Courier, November 11, 2017, http://www.bhcourier.com/national-council-of-jewish-women-sets-annual-clothing-giveaway-volunteers-sought/.

Folven, Edwin. “NCJW/LA clothing giveaway makes difference in the lives of thousands”, Park LaBrea News Beverly Press, November 30, 2016, http://www.beverlypress.com/2016/11/ncjwla-clothing-giveaway-makes-difference-in-the-lives-of-thousands/.

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