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!

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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!

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.

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!

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.

Vintage is the future!

At the Assistance League of Irvine thrift shop we get all kinds of retro, vintage, and just plain used items. “Retro,” “vintage,” and “mid-century modern” seem to be hot categories right now. For instance, the most popular specialty license plate at the DMV is the legacy yellow-on-black 1960s retro plate. I remember when I had an ORIGINAL license plate like that. If I’d only kept it. Like my miniskirts, my platform shoes, and my electric typewriter.

Browsing through the thrift shop can bring back many fond memories. Someone recently donated a whole set of vintage Corelle dishes. Every family I knew, when I was in junior high, bought a set of Corelle. Why? Because . . . You could put them in the dishwasher! My friends and I were ecstatic. No more evenings of washing china dishes by hand while your younger brothers and sisters hogged the TV. (The TV, which had a dial on it. Not a remote.)

If you want to return to those thrilling days of yesteryear, stop by the thrift shop. We have the good (fondue pots), and the ugly (lava lamps). We don’t have the bad, because anything that isn’t in good enough condition to sell in our shop is passed on in turn to the Salvation Army.   And because there’s no such thing as a bad donation – there’s a use for everything somewhere.

Just in case you’re wondering they still make Corelle! It comes in pretty patterns now that go well with today’s decor. Maybe we should all buy some so that we’re prepared for the vintage trend in 2075.