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

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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.