Chatsworth : High Chairs Donated for Needy Children

She has rented baby cribs to Bruce Springsteen and Ed McMahon. Motown’s Berry Gordy Jr. had an account with her.

But now Arlene Grande Wexler of Chatsworth has found a new client list--the needy children in the San Fernando Valley.

Wexler and her 14-year-old son, Brandon Grande, donated 60 high chairs Thursday to Adopt a Child Abuse Caseworker, an organization associated with the San Fernando Valley Interfaith Council. The group gives foster-care providers, struggling families and teen mothers items they need.

Wexler, 46, owned two stores--one in Tarzana and the other in mid-Wilshire--called American Baby Furniture Rentals. She would rent baby furniture to celebrities, restaurants, studio casting directors and ordinary folks.

After the 1994 Northridge earthquake, Wexler decided to close shop. Since then, her inventory--car seats, playpens, high chairs and strollers--has been piled high in her mother’s garage in Chatsworth.


“Grandma said, ‘When are you going to clean up the garage?’ and Brandon said, ‘Mom, donate it,’ ” Wexler said.

“We just had all this stuff,” Brandon said. “I told her we should donate it to poor people or people who can’t afford it.”

They’ve been sifting through the garage and giving thousands of dollars worth of baby furniture to organizations that help needy children. It took Brenda Trunzo, program director of ACAC, and Jim Cianci, a church volunteer, half an hour to load up their truck with the pastel-colored high chairs with the teddy bear covers.

“This is pretty unusual to have a large amount like this” donated to us, Trunzo said. “It’ll take a couple of months to get them out to everybody.”

Trunzo said there are about 6,000 kids in the Valley alone who need the help.

“I’m giving away the furniture and cleaning out the garage all at once,” Wexler said. “And I’m helping a lot of people.”