Previously loved!

By Marta Mahoney

My son bought a used motorcycle last year, and he refers to it not as “previously owned,” but as “previously loved.”

That’s a good description for our merchandise at the ALI thrift store! It was all “previously loved” by someone who wanted it to go to a new home, instead of the trash bin. (Even those pants you found that still have the original price tag on them. The pants can’t help it that the person who loved them in the store put them in the back of their closet, and forgot they were there.)

People donate “previously loved” items to us for all kinds of reasons. The kids grow out of those baby outfits and turn into toddlers. Bigger kids go off to college and leave you with bins of toy cars. You change jobs, or you retire, and you have a closetful of clothing that you’ll never wear again. You’re no longer in your twenties, and you can’t wear 4-inch heels. You loved your fondue pot/pasta machine/food processor for many years, but your diet and cooking style have changed. You came in the thrift shop and found some fantastic holiday decorations, but there’s only so much room in the storage unit, so some of the old ones have to come back to the shop. We could go on and on.

Visit us soon and find some “previously loved” items that want to go home with you to be loved some more!

Can you guess how much a super bowl commercial costs?

Did you watch the Super Bowl last weekend? And did you watch the Super Bowl commercials?

I read that the cost of a Super Bowl commercial this year was $5,000,000 per minute. That’s $83,333 per second! To put that in perspective, ALI’s annual budget for Operation School Bell is about $112.000.

As you readers know, Operation School Bell is our largest community program. Through OSB, we provide school clothing and school supplies to low-income students in the Irvine School District. Last school yea,r we helped 750 students through this program.

You can do the math. $112,000 would buy one and 1/3 seconds of commercial time during the Super Bowl. If you blinked twice, you’d miss that 1 and 1/3 seconds. But you couldn’t miss the smiles on the faces of those 750 kids who got new backpacks and school clothes for the same price.

You can see those smiles, too, and you don’t even need a cable box – just come and join us at ALI. Visit our website at, or contact us at to find out more about our community programs and how you can help.