BACK TO SCHOOL – ALREADY????

At the supermarket this morning I saw a whole display of notebooks, pens, and rulers with a sign, “Back to School Supplies!” And it’s only the beginning of August. Don’t these poor kids get any summer breaks any more? Even if you like the year-round school idea, it sure doesn’t seem like they got much of a summer vacation.

ALI has actually been in “Back to School” mode for several weeks now. Operation School Bell, our largest program, starts up when the schools open in September. OSB provides school clothing and school supplies to income-qualified students in the Irvine Unified School District. There’s a lot of prep work that goes on behind the scenes. We make up a packet of instructions and applications for each school in the district. We schedule dates for “Meet and Greets” with families, and for shopping days at Target. Then we have a whole team of people, including teenagers from our Assisteens auxiliary, who purchase backpacks and school supplies, and assemble hygiene kits for each child (plastic bags with shampoo and other personal care items). We also start our BOOK DRIVE, asking for donations of books from the IUSD grade-level reading lists, so that each child can pick out a book to take home. When the families arrive at our Community Outreach Center (upstairs from the thrift shop) for the first “Meet and Greet,” we’ll have everything ready for them!

If you’d like to contribute to OSB, you can write a check to ALI and either drop it off at the thrift shop, or mail it to us at 2452 Alton, Irvine, CA 92606. Include a note that it is for Operation School Bell. To donate a book, you can drop off new, age-appropriate books at the thrift shop as well. Thrift shop hours are 10 am – 3 pm Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, or 10 am to 5:30 pm on Friday.

DIY ALERT – VASES!

Let’s talk about – vases. Now there’s the crystal vase you buy for a wedding present for your 2nd cousin’s daughter, who has everything she needs and is planning a destination wedding in Tuscany. Then there’s the plain clear glass vase you buy in real life, which, of course, is where the THRIFT SHOP comes in.

There are so many creative things you can do with these vases, and the thrift ship ALWAYS has a great selection at LOW PRICES. Here are just a few ideas!

  • Make a terrarium with your kids (this is a great summer vacation project). Find a vase that’s wide but not too tall. You’ll need pebbles, terrarium soil, and some tiny succulent plants. Look for detailed instructions on the internet.
  • Air plants in glass containers are very trendy now. You can grow these indoors or outdoors, and they require virtually no water!
  • Fill your vase with alternate layers of different colored pebbles and sand. This requires NO artistic talent and makes a beautiful sculpture-like piece to display on your mantel or coffee table.
  • Your vase could also hold a collection of things with sentimental value – wine corks, shells, rocks and minerals, foreign coins. It’s a great way to display these small treasures that bring back memories.
  • On a purely practical note, a vase can hold those kitchen utensils that won’t fit in the drawer, or all kinds of miscellaneous bathroom items (think Q-tips or cotton balls). And clear glass works with any style of decor.

– It’s SUMMER. Keep that vase filled with flowers from your garden!

SKIP THE SUPPLEMENTS – VOLUNTEER!

The headline for an article in the June 2017 issue of the AARP Magazine read, “Planning to Live to 100? Volunteer!”

Now personally, I’m not sure I want to live to be 100. For one thing, I KNOW the DMV will take away my driver’s license by then. (On the other hand, I could find some cute guy from Uber to drive me around. I may have to rethink this.)

The real issue isn’t how long we live, but how well we live. And no matter how young or how old you are, volunteering does amazing things for your quality of life.

Eric J. Schneidewind, the president of AARP and the author of the article, writes, “A growing body of research tells us that those who volunteer have lower mortality rates and less depression, along with a greater sense of control over one’s life and high rates of self-esteem and happiness. Some studies showed that volunteers who devote about 100 hours or more per year to volunteer activities are the most likely to experience health benefits.”

If you’re serious about aging well (or simply living well now), add volunteering to your life. Find a cause you’re passionate about and join in. At Assistance League of Irvine, we’re passionate about our philanthropic programs – Operation School Bell, the Young Masters Art Show, and our Irvine Valley College Scholarships, to name a few. If we walk 10,000 steps while we’re working a shift at the thrift shop, so much the better. We’re not thinking about living to be 100 – we just want to give back to our community for as long as we’re able.

5 things you always want to know about the Thrift Shop (but didn’t ask)

FIVE THINGS YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE THRIFT SHOP (BUT DIDN’T WANT TO ASK BECAUSE YOU’RE SURE EVERYONE KNOWS THE ANSWER BUT YOU)

1. Where does your merchandise come from?

It comes from donations! Everything we sell has been donated to us – we don’t purchase any items for resale.  We accept donations at our back door (around the rear of the building) any time that the shop is open (on Fridays we take donations until 3 pm).

2. Why are the price tags different colors?

It’s an inventory management system that allows us to know how long an item has been in the store.  You don’t want to see the same things on the shelves month after month – and neither do we! Every month we change to a different colored tag, and after a certain period of time, we pull all the remaining items in that color.  The only exception is white tags, which are used for holiday merchandise and some of our specialty items such as antiques.  Besides – it’s more interesting to have different colors!

3.  What’s upstairs?

The second floor contains our Community Outreach Center, where we meet with clients of our different philanthropies such as Operation School Bell.  We also have an office, a small conference room, and our new mezzanine, where we store donations.

4.  What do you do with donations you can’t use?

We pass these items on to other non-profit groups.  Most of the donations that aren’t in good enough shape for our shop are given to the Salvation Army.  We also give things to several non-profits that aid veterans or the homeless, the Irvine Animal Care Center, and the Irvine Valley College Drama Department (they’re thrilled to get “vintage” clothing to use for costumes!).

5.  If I want to volunteer at the thrift shop, what do I do?

Tell one of our members at the shop (with the blue aprons!) that you’re interested.  We have several levels of volunteer support, from full ALI members to “community volunteers” who want to see if this experience is right for them.  We’ll ask you to fill out an interest form, and then our membership chair will contact you!

Don’t miss this new attraction opening in IRVINE!

Right now all of us at ALI feel like Disneyland on opening day! On Tuesday, June 6 (a SPECIAL SHOPPING DAY!) we’re unveiling a brand-new attraction! We have a NEW FLOOR! Now we realize this isn’t on a par with rocket ships, a train ride beneath falling boulders, or a river cruise through the jungle, but we think it’s pretty magical. We didn’t wish upon a star – it just took a lot of hard work by our members over several years, plus some generous donations, to make it happen.

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Tuesday, June 6 is also our SUMMER SPECTACULAR, when all our summer clothes and merchandise arrive in the shop. Our new floor will take you on an adventurous journey through glamorous summer beach outfits, cookware and dishes that are perfect for summer entertaining, and toys and books that will take your kids to a land of enchantment. You don’t even have to drive to Anaheim – it’s all right here in Irvine!

Head over to the thrift shop ASAP – it’s more fun than an E-ticket ride. (And if you don’t know what an E-ticket ride was, you are . . . Younger than I am!)  

2452 Alton Parkway is located between Jamboree and Von Karman on Alton
Irvine, CA 92606
(949) 955-3437

Business Hours: 

Wednesday 10 – 3 PM

Thursday 10 – 3 PM

Friday 10 – 5:30 PM

Saturday 10 – 3 PM

MORE INFO HERE

Coming Attractions in Irvine

Every time we turn on the TV we are deluged with ads for “Coming Attractions” at the movies. At ALI, we can’t afford to buy TV air time, so here are ALI’s OWN COMING ATTRACTIONS FOR THE NEXT FEW WEEKS!

THROUGH FRIDAY, MAY 26: Our annual pre-inventory sale! Incredible discounts on our already low, low prices. We need to sell as much as we can before we take inventory at the end of May. If you buy it – we don’t have to count it!

WEDNESDAY, MAY 31 THROUGH SATURDAY, JUNE 3: THE SHOP WILL BE CLOSED WHILE WE INSTALL NEW FLOORING!!! We tried, and we tried, but there’s no way to do this without closing for a few days. Just save up all those dollars you would have spent at the shop between May 31 and June 3, because . . .

TUESDAY, JUNE 6: YES – TUESDAY! A SPECIAL RE-OPENING SUMMER SPECTACULAR SHOPPING DAY with ALL NEW (well, new to the thrift shop) SUMMER merchandise. Summer clothes, summer accessories, summer shoes, summer hats, and a new supply of housewares, toys, and linens.

None of these “Coming Attractions” feature superheroes, super villains, man-eating space creatures, or songs your kids will sing over and over for the rest of the summer. Just great merchandise at a LOW price (and depending on how much you buy, it’ll be cheaper than going to the movies)!

THRIFT SHOP INFORMATION

Assistance League of Irvine is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization with a rich history of philanthropic programs to meet the needs of our community. Every year our volunteer base grows in strength and hours given, enabling us to provide greater benefits to the community in which we live and work. We are Assistance League.

Celebrate National Volunteer Week with ALI!

April 23 as the beginning of National Volunteer Week! Sponsored by Points of Light, National Volunteer Week was started in 1974 as a way to encourage volunteerism and recognize those who volunteer their time and efforts to make a better life for others.

At ALI, we volunteer 52 weeks a year, whether it’s by staffing our thrift shop, helping families purchase school clothing and supplies through Operation School Bell, interviewing applicants for our Irvine Valley College scholarships, or promoting artistic expression at our annual Young Masters Art Show.   We know that volunteering connects our community, and builds a support system for those who are struggling. And it often brings out untapped talents – how many times have we seen one of our members discover a passion for public relations or creatively arranging our store displays?

Many of you blog readers are also volunteers – at schools and youth organizations, environmental groups, at food banks and homeless shelters – the list is endless. We’d like to say “THANKS” to all our readers who volunteer in so many ways.   In today’s world it often seems that one individual’s effort can’t make a difference – but we’ve seen time and again at ALI, that it can.

If you’d like to learn more about National Volunteer Week, visit their website at www.pointsoflight.org.   And if you think you’d like to join us volunteering at ALI, go to visit ASSISTANCE LEAGUE OF IRVINE.