Gold star rating for Assistance League of Irvine

Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton wrote an excellent article in the December 3rd paper about holiday charity scams. One of the statistics he mentioned was: “Last year, according to the attorney general, Californians donated nearly $688 million through fundraisers that transferred just 54% to charities. Thrift stores are much worse. They brought in $125 million – from donated used clothing, for example – but charities got a mere 9.5%.” 

That raised a lot of eyebrows here at the ALI thrift shop, because we are currently returning 72% of our income back to the community. We have no paid staff and no professional fundraisers. All our work is done by our members and community volunteers, who donate their time and effort to keep our thrift shop running.

You can see our financial information on GuideStarTM, a website that is the world’s largest source of information on non-profit organizations. Assistance League of Irvine is proud to have achieved the GuideStar Gold rating, the highest ranking awarded by GuideStar. You can rest assured that when you shop at our thrift store, your money is going to help someone in need.

And while we’re on the subject of holiday charity giving, please keep ALI in mind when you’re thinking about your end-of-the-year donations. We are a registered 501(c)(3) charity, and cash donations play a big part in helping us support our community programs. You can donate to us through the GuideStar website, or by sending your donation to us at 2452 Alton Parkway, Irvine, CA 92606.

We appreciate all the support we get from our shoppers and donors – because we couldn’t achieve that 72% return to the community without YOU!

Share Irvine’s secret treasures with your holiday guests.

By Marta Mahoney, Assistance League of Irvine Member

This past month I’ve had two friends visiting me, one from Hawaii and one from New York City, I took both of them to the thrift shop. Both of them told me (I have to brag a little) that if they lived in Irvine, they’d be visiting the shop all the time!

As we get into the holiday season, many of us will be hosting out-of-town guests. You’re going to show them Hollywood, Disneyland, the beach . . . and then you’ll run out of ways to entertain them.

Take them to the thrift shop! They’ll see local color (real Irvine volunteers at work) and feel they’ve discovered a secret treasure in the heart of Irvine. And you’ll solve some of the most common problems you face with company:

  • The weather gets hot. Or the weather gets cold. Whichever it is, your guests will have brought outfits for the opposite temperature. Take them to the thrift shop to find something that will work while they’re here. (At our prices, they can donate it back if they don’t want to take it home.)
  • Your guests are children, and they’re bored with all the toys they brought with them. Try the thrift shop for toys, games, and puzzles.
  • Your guests forgot that they were invited to dinner at your uncle’s house, and they need a hostess present.
  • Your guests have so many souvenirs they need another suitcase. Or a backpack. Or even a big purse. We have them all!

When you bring your guests to the thrift shop, it’s also a way to remember that the holiday season – no matter which holidays you celebrate – is about more than shopping. All the money we earn in the shop goes to help families in need right here in Irvine. What better way for your guests to forge a connection with Irvine than by giving back to our community by supporting our shop?

(And if you suddenly realize you need to clean out a bedroom to make room for those guests, we’re here to take your donations during any hours the shop is open.)









Get out a big, bright marker and circle this date on your calendar – or pull out your Smartphone and program the REMINDER app with the loudest ringtone you can find:


That’s the date for our annual HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA at the ALI thrift shop, with special shopping hours from 10 AM TO 5:30 PM. 

All the HOLIDAY MERCHANDISE that we’ve been collecting all year will be out in the shop FOR THE FIRST TIME! You won’t believe the beautiful holiday decorations and gifts that will be for sale.  We have so much that our regular thrift shop space won’t hold it all – we have to use our upstairs too!

If you haven’t been to this event before, you’ll be overwhelmed by the quality and variety of our ornaments, home decor, holiday-themed gifts, cards, lights, and wrapping paper.  It’s the perfect opportunity to pick up stocking stuffers, small office gifts, or something new for your holiday tabletop.

PLAN TO COME EARLY for the best selection, because once it’s sold – it’s gone! See you on November 10th!


By ALI Member, Marta Mahoney

I just spent an afternoon at the beauty salon. Naturally, while at the beauty salon I read a fashion magazine. It was a brand-new issue featuring the latest fall styles. Each page showed a trendy fall dress, sweater, skirt, or coat, accompanied by a sidebar reading, “Wear this with . . . ” showing possible shoes, boots, or purses that would complete the outfit.

All this was pretty standard fashion-magazine stuff, except that most of the shoes, boots, and purses came with the note, “Price upon request.” (And this wasn’t even a high-end fashion magazine!) Now I don’t know about you, but my clothing budget isn’t based on “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.”

At the thrift shop, we don’t have ANYTHING that says, “Price upon request.” Yes, we occasionally have items where the tag has fallen off, and in that case we will take the item to the back room to be re-priced. Yes, we occasionally have items where the price sticker has been put in some obscure spot, but eventually we’ll find it. Yes, we have fragile items in our display cases where you will need to ask one of our volunteers to take the item out so you can see the price sticker, but the price will be there!

And even if you HAD to ask the price – at the thrift shop, you could afford it!

Bottom line: Read the magazines to scout the latest fall fashions. Then come to the thrift store to see what you can find that will be totally in style, without your having to ASK if it fits your pocketbook.

Witching hour is coming to Assistance League of Irvine. Come one… Come all.

Hop on your magic BROOMS and FLY over to the thrift shop to see our amazing selection of HALLOWEEN merchandise! We know the WITCHING HOUR of October 31 is over a month away, but if you wait you won’t have a GHOST of a chance for these bargains, because our stock will be a SKELETON of what it is right now! We’ve got an incredible supply of COSTUMES for all ages, plus all the HALLOWEEN decor you’ve been looking for to turn your home into a HAUNTED HOUSE. PUMPKINS galore, TOMBSTONES, BLACK CATS, SCARY PORTRAITS, and HALLOWEEN CANDLES for that gloomy atmosphere. Plus PARTY SUPPLIES like Halloween pencils and stickers, and awesome HALLOWEEN CARDS hand-crafted by some of our artistic members.

Our HALLOWEEN items only RISE FROM THE GRAVE (come out of their storage boxes) once a year, so visit the shop BEFORE THE CLOCK RUNS OUT and they disappear!

Upcycle DIY projects to make your life easier and save money.





DIY Hair Pin Container. Source

da7bdfa94ae01609ef84baa0ba605bc7DIY Tie Dye T-Shirt Hair Twister. Source

upcycle4The Clocks Clock. Source

enhanced-buzz-18155-1404589633-4The Cutest Pencil Holders. Source


Pop-Up Art Display. Directions here


Milk Jug Planters. Source

Click here for more info on these projects PLUS even more upcycle ideas

Get your FALL fix at the ALI thrift shop!


Ah, the beauty of fall – red and gold leaves on the trees, the scent of wood smoke in the air, wrapping yourself in a sweater on chilly afternoons, bundling up in a blanket at football games – uh, no. Not in southern California (except maybe for the smoke in the air, and that’s another story).   But for all of you who gaze yearningly at pictures of fall color in the Maine woods – help is on the way! You can get your “FALL FIX” starting on SUPER TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, at the ALI thrift shop!

SUPER TUESDAY is an EXTRA SHOPPING DAY to welcome the fall season. The store will be COMPLETELY RESTOCKED with fall fashions, accessories, and decor to showcase our fantastic selection of fall merchandise. The thrift shop will be open from 10 am to 3 pm, so come early for the best selection.

You’ll find an abundance of exciting, cooler-weather adults’ and children’s clothing in muted colors and contemporary fabrics. Pull your fall outfits together from a huge collection of fashion-forward accessories such as scarves, hats, purses, shoes and jewelry. Bring fall into your home with seasonally-themed decor and tableware, including several sets of beautiful dishes that would be perfect for entertaining!

Once you’ve been to the thrift shop on SUPER TUESDAY, you’ll be ready to sit by the fire with some hot apple cider while the wind howls outside – well, that part might have to wait a couple of months. But you’ll be ready when the time comes!