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Organization celebrates milestone of 125 years serving St. Louis community

The National Council of Jewish Women St. Louis has grown to serve more than 20,000 families in the St. Louis region.

ST. LOUIS — As customers trickle in at The Resale Shop and handpick items, they may not realize each purchase is actually a helping hand.

This thrift store has been around for 80 years and is just one of the many projects the National Council of Jewish Women St. Louis has.

"It funds the wonderful programs and projects we have," volunteer Marilyn Ratkin said.

NCJW STL started off as a group of Jewish women to advance social and economic justice for all women, children and families.

"We have been serving the St. Louis community for 125+ years. One of our earliest projects was the free milk program and it began in 1919 in St. Louis Public Schools. This shows we see a need and we act on it," she notes.

Credit: NCJW

From there, it's grown to serve more than 20,000 families in the St. Louis region.

"We have been really good at meeting unmet needs in the community both in the policy work and programming work," Ratkin said. 

The work has been able to blossom through its 5,000 volunteers. 

"You don’t have to identify as a woman or identify as Jewish, you just have to make a difference in the world," Ratkin shares.

The organization's work encompasses policy work from domestic violence, human trafficking, equity and education.

There is a multitude of projects, but some include services for children. 

One is the Back-To-School Store, which helps 2,000 children prepare with brand new backpacks, learning supplies, personal items and winter gear. 

Another is a Kids Community Closet, which serves 11,000 students in more than 32 schools, giving essential items to students.

In order to continue its ongoing efforts, a special fundraiser called Sisters Act! is happening April 27, which you can join. To purchase tickets or to become a sponsor, click here or call 314-993-5181.

The deadline to sign up for the luncheon is April 4.

Actress Kathy Najimy of 'Hocus Pocus' and 'Sister Act' will be the special guest.

"It'll help fund some of these programs and projects that we've been doing for a long time," Ratkin tells 5 On Your Side.

It'll also celebrate its milestone anniversary to showcase all the work they've been doing for more than a century.

"Everyone of can make a difference each and every day and that's what we believe in NCJW," she said.

If you'd like to donate gently used items to The Resale Shop, the donation center is open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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