MANY within the Jewish community don’t even know it’s there, but B’nai B’rith’s Bargain Bazaar shop in Surry Hills has donated almost $50,000 dollars to charity this year.
The op shop is staffed solely by volunteers, the majority of whom are B’nai B’rith members, and it sells donated second hand goods, clothing and household items.
Last month the shop’s board presented the Sydney Children’s Hospital Sleep Unit with a $5000 donation.
Other charities supported by the Bargain Bazaar include Courage to Care, Giant Steps school for autistic children, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, United Israel Appeal, JCA, JewishCare, and breast cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s research organisations.
“We’re able, I believe, to do good things for the Jewish community, both internally and externally,” chairperson John Lilienfeld said.
“[It’s] good for the Jewish community, both in terms of being able to donate to charities such as UIA, JCA and Courage to Care, and also we’re exposing the Jewish community to the outside community, such as the donation to the Children’s Hospital.
“Supporting charity [and] supporting needy people is part of what we do. That’s very much B’nai B’rith and what it stands for.”
A team of around 100 volunteers keeps the operation going, Lilienfeld said, but more are always welcome.
“The greatest challenge that we have is getting people to actually pick up the donated goods,” he said.
“There are about three or four of us doing it, but bearing in mind that you generally have retired people – you are relying on older people to do that job – if we had younger people willing to do it on the weekend it would be great.”
Prospective volunteers who wish to work in the shop are also welcome, he said.
“Basically the minimum requirement is three hours every four weeks – we work on a four-week roster and there are two three-hour shifts per day.”
“We get all types of people there, those of us who work there really enjoy working with the different types of people. It’s fun, once you get to know them.”
Volunteer Miriam Kluger told The AJN the work is enjoyable and interesting. “I enjoy giving back, and having the time to do it and the social contact, with ourselves and with customers, and being able to do something for the community.”
For those who are unable to give their time, unwanted possessions are also welcome – particularly ornaments and kitchenware.
Enquiries: John Lilienfeld 0414 840 389.
Customer Maggie Spinks (left) is assisted by volunteers Annette Winter (centre) and Miriam Kluger.