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Scarsdale Church Runs Thrift Shop for Charity

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- For 10 years, Rene Thiel has been helping stock, tidy, and sell clothing and house ware in the Thrift Shop of White Plains, housed behind the red door of the White Plains Presbyterian Church.

Thiel, a Hartsdale resident, said she knows the donations from her Hitchcock Presbyterian Church in Scarsdale do not surge during the holiday season and senses the generosity remains constant from the thrift shop’s four sponsors: the Woman’s Club of White Plains, the Scarsdale Woman’s Club, the White Plains Presbyterian Church, and the Hitchcock Presbyterian Church.

“We get it all year long. It’s constant. We do a brisk business,” said Thiel. “We have definitely seen more people come in with the down economy.”

The Thrift Shop of White Plains is staffed by approximately 20 volunteers from 9:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Tuesdays and from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the first Saturday of the month. The four organizations split the money, which Thiel said goes entirely towards “benevolence.”

“Between Hitchcock’s own thrift shop and our share here, we make $30,000 a year,” said Thiel. “It goes to My Sisters' Place, it goes to Midnight Run, it goes to the White Plains soup kitchen, it goes to help a women’s hospital in Ethiopia...that’s why I do it. It’s so exciting to think of how the thrift shop changes lives."

Thiel said she believes the Hitchcock church got involved with the thrift shop shortly after it opened as the first thrift store in the U.S. in 1917.

This story has been updated to correct the thrift shop's hours of business. Also, according to Thiel, the first thrift store was opened in 1917, not 1997, as previously reported.

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