I’m ‘Not Shopping’ – no really….

Today’s story is about . . . Not shopping. Notice we didn’t say “Never shopping.” This IS, however, a story about the ALI thrift store. We WANT you to come in and shop with us. (We’d especially like some readers to come in and buy all those winter coats and ski jackets that people donated to us after their once-in-a-lifetime trip to see the snow in Big Bear.)

But you don’t need to shop 24 hours a day. This is the holiday season of Christmas and Hanukkah, and even if you’re not particularly religious, a time to take stock of where you are in life as the new year approaches. “Not shopping” means spending time during the holidays with your family, your friends, and those in need of help. “Not shopping” means reaching out to others with love and attention, letting them know you’re glad they’re a part of your life. It means spending a morning serving meals at a homeless shelter, instead of endlessly circling the parking lot at the mall. It means simply taking a long walk along the beach, or on one of Irvine’s urban trails, and reflecting on the beauty of the natural world.

We know you’ll still be looking for that perfect gift (which is why you need to come to the thrift store), but try to make “not shopping” part of your holidays this year.

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It’s ‘THAT’ week! Are you ready?

It’s time to put on your shopping shoes, pull out your map of the mall, and start counting down to November 24 and 25th. Yes, it’s THAT WEEK – Black Friday and Small Business Saturday! Bargains, sales, and merchandising mayhem!
 
And OF COURSE you have to make a stop at the ALI thrift store while you’re out and about on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday! On Black Friday, we’ll have our weekly specials, which are ALREADY way below anything you’ll pay at the mall. On Small Business Saturday, we have a FANTASTIC offer for you – 25% off your ENTIRE PURCHASE OVER $20 (with some exceptions for some of our special items).
 
No 3 am Doorbusters, but that means you can get up at a sensible hour and have a few leisurely cups of coffee before heading over to the thrift shop. We’ll be open our regular hours, 10 am to 5:30 pm on Friday, and 10 am to 3 pm on Saturday. And if you just can’t face shopping on Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, we’re open as usual on Wednesday the 23rd, the day before Thanksgiving, from 10 am to 3 pm.

Best wishes to our readers for a Happy Thanksgiving with your family and friends, from all of us here at the Assistance League of Irvine.

Just announced! Assisteens hit a new goal!

By Carol McVeigh

Scissors cut, irons phft, machines hum.  And receiving blankets are sewn.

Every year Assisteens undertake this philanthropy – to sew and donate 100 receiving blankets to a local hospital – meeting as small groups several times in Assisteen family homes.

But this year they elected to use the Chapter House, promoting the fact that Assisteens are an auxiliary of ALIrvine; our Chapter House is theirs, too. Further, they elected to produce all blankets at one meeting, so they can gather as a group, and they can learn many skills needed to plan for, supply, manage, and operate a production line.

Assisteens purchased yards and yards of soft flannel, recruited 17 sewing machines (some really really old, some just old, some hardly used, some new) and 17 people to sew (six were Assisteens!).  They located irons and ironing boards, and recruited fabric measurers and cutters, ironers, and folders. They also devised a best “process flow” to efficiently produce a well-sewn, quality blanket.

On Sunday, October 15, at 3:00 the production line started with a goal to make 100 blankets in four hours.  Initially there were a few bottlenecks but quick analysis and rapid implementation of new process flows kept the line moving.   It was an excellent learning experience for Assisteens, and great fun for their parents and ALI members who participated.

The finished blankets – all 102 of them – were beautiful.   Into each carefully folded blanket, as the last process, an Assisteen tucked a note – “with love from Assisteens of Irvine.”

Are you intersted in learning more about this program? Click here or please contact (949) 798-5020.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and we know why!

The weather was so hot last week in Irvine, I think we’re going to have to change the old saying, “Never wear white after Labor Day” to “Never wear white after Thanksgiving.” Of course, there’s summer white (what you wear while you’re lounging around the pool) and winter white (what you wear while you’re lounging around the fireplace at the ski cabin). And winter white means snowflakes – sleigh bells – Christmas trees – Hanukkah presents – and the ALI thrift shop’s eagerly-awaited annual holiday spectacular!

Yes, it’s “the most wonderful time of the year,” as the song goes, starting at the thrift shop on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8. Our 2017 holiday merchandise will be out in the shop that morning, and you won’t believe what absolutely beautiful things we have. Our donors went overboard this past year giving us gorgeous Christmas and Hanukkah items, along with fabulous winter clothes and ski jackets.

Whether you want to completely redo your home and your wardrobe for the holidays, or just add something new, you’ll find what you’re looking for at the thrift shop. Our doors open at 10 am on Wednesday 11/8, so be there early for the best selection! And we’ll be putting out new items every day, so stop by often!

Looking for the perfect gift?

We’ve all had to deal with it. Finding a present for that hard-to-please person. Or the person who would be pleased with anything, but seems to have everything. Or your mother, who says she “needs clothes,” but has a list of requirements for the clothes (nothing scratchy, nothing with buttons, nothing in purple) that would drive a personal stylist crazy. Or something for all the teenagers who volunteered at your church food drive, that works for both girls and boys and doesn’t cost much.

The Assistance League of Irvine Thrift Shop has a solution – a GIFT CERTIFICATE to the shop! These cost $5 each, and you can buy as many as you want! Your hard-to-please friend, your easy-to-please friend, your mother, and your volunteers can pick out whatever they want from our ever-changing stock of clothing, home decor, and household gadgets (plus books, toys, and puzzles). They’ll have the thrill of finding something they really want. You’ll have the thrill of knowing your gift won’t sit in the closet. And both of you will have the satisfaction of knowing the purchase is supporting a good cause.

To purchase a gift certificate, just come into the Assistance League of Irvine Thrift Shop and tell one of our members at the checkout counter you’d like to buy one (or two . . . Or several . . .). It will be the easiest (and the most fun) gift you buy all year!

You can change the world, 1 book at a time.

by Marta Mahoney, Assistance League of Irvine, Volunteer

You may find this hard to believe, but I haven’t been to the thrift shop for ONE WEEK. That’s because I’m in Washington, DC on vacation. Being in Washington is an amazing experience for someone like me who loves history. Seeing the White House, the Capitol, the monuments, and the museums really connects you to the past. You realize that even if you were an average office worker wandering around on your lunch hour, you could be walking in the footsteps of Washington or Lincoln.

One of the tours I’ve done is the walking tour of the Library of Congress. (It’s a beautiful building, and I highly recommend this tour if you go to Washington.) The Library of Congress was founded by Thomas Jefferson, who donated his personal library to start it. In those days there were no public libraries, and many people were illiterate. But our Founding Fathers believed in the power of reading and the need for a national library. Today the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with over 38 million books and 164 million total items!

This struck a chord with me because at ALI, we also believe strongly in the power of books. Every child in our Operation School Bell program receives a book to take home (along with school clothing and supplies). They choose a book from a selection of grade-appropriate fiction and non-fiction books. For some of these children, it’s the first time they’ve had a book of their own.

This is where you come in, readers! We’re currently holding a book drive to stock up on children’s books for OSB. You, too, can be like Thomas Jefferson and donate a book (or books!). You can drop off your book donation at the thrift shop during our regular hours. Any local bookstore will be able to suggest appropriate books for elementary, middle school, or high school students.

And who knows – some day the child who reads your donated book may become an author with a book in the Library of Congress

Are you prepared for an emergency?

Our hearts go out to all those affected by Hurricane Harvey and the devastating floods in Texas. Over the past few days we’ve seen both the destructive forces of nature and the heroism of those caught in the storm. Watching the scenes on TV made me wonder: what would happen if we had a similar disaster here in Orange County? How many of us are prepared for a situation like this? Here’s a suggested list of emergency supplies published by FEMA. How many of these do you have in your home?

  • 1 gallon of water per person per day, for at least 3 days
  • 3-day supply of non-perishable food (and a can opener and a pocket knife)
  • A flashlight with extra batteries (a headlamp is also a good idea, since this frees up both hands in the dark)
  • A whistle to call for help
  • First aid kit
  • Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio, a weather radio with a tone alarm, and extra batteries for both
  • Battery-powered cell phone charger
  • Dust masks, plastic sheeting, and duct tape to shelter in place
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties
  • Extra prescription medicine and eyeglasses
  • Copies of family documents (such as contact information, bank account information, insurance policy numbers) in a waterproof container
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for any pets
  • Sleeping bags, blankets, extra clothing, walking shoes
  • Keep all your emergency supplies together in a place you can get to easily

You can get more information on preparing for emergencies at www.FEMA.gov.   We all hope and pray that we’ll never have to endure a natural disaster, but with a little foresight, we can be prepared for that situation.