A month of sales!

If you’re a long-time customer of the ALI thrift shop, you’ll remember that we take inventory every year at the end of May.  That’s right – we count every single item in the shop, BY HAND.  And what does that mean for you? It means – your favorite month is here! May! THE MONTH OF SALES!

All month long, we’re going to have sale after sale, because we DON’T LIKE COUNTING.  We want everything in the shop to find a home with some happy customer, LIKE YOU.  Because if it’s sold, we don’t have to count it!

The sales will change week to week, but they’ll be GREAT! You’ll want to stop in every week, maybe even two or three times. And YOU’LL be counting up the dollars you saved!

Celebrate National ‘Simplify Your Life’ Week

Like me, blog readers, you probably never knew that the first week in August is “National Simplify Your Life Week”!

It’s not our place to address the philosophical reasons why we now need a designated NATIONAL week to remind us to clean out our garages. There are actually many things that go into simplifying a lifestyle, but for most of us, the first thing that comes to mind is getting rid of all those things we no longer use. (I can recall a time when clutter was actually seen as sort of a good thing. You never knew what you might find down in your grandmother’s basement – stacks of old magazines, boxes of clothes, discarded furniture that you could use to play house. You could get hours of entertainment out of it.)

Nowadays, experts recommend that you periodically go through your closets, kitchen cupboards, kids’ rooms, and, yes, your storage unit. Separate everything into things you want to keep, things you want to pass on, and things to throw away.

Bring those things you want to pass on to the ALI thrift store! While we don’t take furniture, TVs, old computers, or large appliances, you can bring us everything else. We take donations at our shop during the hours we’re open (Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm; Friday from 10 am to 5:30 pm). Drive around to our rear door at the back of our building, and we’ll happily help you unload your car.

Once you’ve simplified your life, you’ll be so happy you’ll be ready for the second week in August, which is “National Smile Week”!

April 27th 6am – April 28 12pm – YOU CAN GIVE WHERE YOUR HEART LIVES

Blog readers, are you ready for the 22nd Annual IHeart OC Giving Day? This is the one time a year in a 30-hour period you can give back and it’s so easy!

April 27th 6am – April 28 12pm – YOU CAN GIVE WHERE YOUR HEART LIVES.

Our thrift shop supports about 80% of our budget. The rest has to come from donations. And the IHeartOC Giving Day is the easiest possible way to make a donation to Assistance League of Irvine. Just click on this link to the IHeartOC website and it will automatically take you to the web page where you can make a tax-deductible donation to Assistance League of Irvine.

ALL the money ALI raises supports our programs right here in Irvine. School clothing, school supplies, and eyeglasses for needy children, scholarships for single parents and high school seniors planning to attend Irvine Valley College, help for the Human Options shelter, our annual Young Masters art show, our Assisteens auxiliary that builds character and leadership skills in 7th grade to 12th grade students through volunteer activities, and our incredible thrift shop – all of these directly affect the lives of Irvine families. AND WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT TO CONTINUE ALL THESE WONDERFUL PROGRAMS.

We’re not an organization that sends you mailers every month asking for donations. We don’t have a “pledge week.” But we’re asking for your donation in any amount, during the IHeartOC campaign. Thank you for supporting us!

CLICK HERE TO GIVE WHERE YOUR ❤ LIVES

(The IHeartOC campaign is sponsored by the Orange County Community Foundation as a way to publicize non-profits in Orange County and encourage donations.)

Share Irvine’s secret treasures with your holiday guests.

By Marta Mahoney, Assistance League of Irvine Member

This past month I’ve had two friends visiting me, one from Hawaii and one from New York City, I took both of them to the thrift shop. Both of them told me (I have to brag a little) that if they lived in Irvine, they’d be visiting the shop all the time!

As we get into the holiday season, many of us will be hosting out-of-town guests. You’re going to show them Hollywood, Disneyland, the beach . . . and then you’ll run out of ways to entertain them.

Take them to the thrift shop! They’ll see local color (real Irvine volunteers at work) and feel they’ve discovered a secret treasure in the heart of Irvine. And you’ll solve some of the most common problems you face with company:

  • The weather gets hot. Or the weather gets cold. Whichever it is, your guests will have brought outfits for the opposite temperature. Take them to the thrift shop to find something that will work while they’re here. (At our prices, they can donate it back if they don’t want to take it home.)
  • Your guests are children, and they’re bored with all the toys they brought with them. Try the thrift shop for toys, games, and puzzles.
  • Your guests forgot that they were invited to dinner at your uncle’s house, and they need a hostess present.
  • Your guests have so many souvenirs they need another suitcase. Or a backpack. Or even a big purse. We have them all!

When you bring your guests to the thrift shop, it’s also a way to remember that the holiday season – no matter which holidays you celebrate – is about more than shopping. All the money we earn in the shop goes to help families in need right here in Irvine. What better way for your guests to forge a connection with Irvine than by giving back to our community by supporting our shop?

(And if you suddenly realize you need to clean out a bedroom to make room for those guests, we’re here to take your donations during any hours the shop is open.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support our book drive.

“There is more treasure in books, than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” -Walt Disney

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Nothing opens the world to a child like books and the love of reading.  Studies have shown that having books in the home plays an enormous part in school success.  At Assistance League of Irvine, we’re all about making sure kids have a level playing field for success in school – and that includes books of their own.

We give each Operation School Bell student an age-appropriate book of their choice, plus a dictionary for each family.  And where do these books come from? From YOU, our generous donors and thrift shop patrons!

Each year we hold an annual Book Drive to collect new and gently-used books for these students.   The Irvine year-round schools start up in August, so our Book Drive is starting RIGHT NOW!

We supported over 800 students last year through Operation School Bell – so as you can see, we need LOTS of books! We’re particularly looking for books on the middle school or high school required reading lists.  You can drop off your book drive donations at the thrift shop during any time than we are open.

Help us encourage the love of reading in this new generation through our book drive.  And many, many thanks to ALL OF YOU who make it happen!

SAVE THESE DATES FOR “I HEART OC GIVING DAY” – “THIRTY HOURS TO GIVE WHERE YOUR HEART LIVES”

 

 

Set your alarm for 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 21. That’s the start of the Orange County Community Foundation’s “Day of Giving” for 2015. The Foundation’s goal is to raise $2MM in 30 hours (6 :00 a.m. on April 21 to noon on April 22) for local non-profits who are participating in this event. Assistance League of Irvine is proud to be one of the organizations in Orange County participating in this effort. If you’re not familiar with the OCCF, this foundation has been actively working in Orange County for the past 25 years and has awarded over $257MM to local charities to help meet the needs of our county.

ALI will not only have the benefit of your donations made to us in connection with the Day of Giving – we’ll be eligible for “bonus prizes” to be awarded by the Foundation! There are 78 available cash prizes in categories from how much money you raise as a percent of total donations, to the non-profit with the most “likes,” comments, or retweets on social media. Of course we’d LOVE to win one of these prizes!

How to donate? We’ll have a link to the “Day of Giving” website on our own website, Facebook page, and this blog starting April 13. All you’ll have to do is CLICK HERE – follow and watch for updates!

Please SHARE the news about “I Heart OC Giving Day” with your friends and neighbors. This is an event that impacts all of Orange County, not just Irvine. The more people who participate and donate during this 30 hours, the more everyone benefits. Spread the word, and open your heart and your wallet on April 21.

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It’s Just Coffee

You’ve probably seen ads for a local matchmaking service called “It’s Just Lunch.” Prospective matches meet for lunch at a local restaurant and hopefully, get to know each other enough to see if they’d like to go on another date. It’s informal, convenient, inexpensive, and doesn’t take up the whole day – it’s just lunch!

ALI would like to be matched up with some new people, too! We KNOW there are many of you out there who would love to get to know us better and perhaps join our chapter. To keep things even simpler than a lunch date, we’re sponsoring “COFFEE AND A TOUR” on Saturday, March 7.

JOIN US AT 10 AM at our Community Outreach Center/Thrift Shop, 2452 Alton Parkway in Irvine (between Von Karman and Jamboree) for coffee and a presentation about our philanthropic activities. Learn how Assistance League of Irvine turns second-hand treasures from our Thrift & Gift Shop into community giving, through scholarships, clothing and school supplies for Irvine students, and much, much more. You’ll have a chance to meet some of our members, enjoy a delicious cup of coffee, take a tour of our Thrift Shop, and even do some shopping!

For more information, RSVP by March 1 to: 949-798-5020, or email: membership@irvine.assistanceleague.org. We’ll see you then – and bring a friend!

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Our newest gift idea!

iStock_000009799796MediumDid you know that the ALI thrift shop has GIFT CERTIFICATES? These come in $5 denominations and are a perfect solution for those situations where you need an affordable gift. Like these:

  1. You belong to a Bunco group where everyone has to bring a token door prize to award during the evening.
  2. Your 8th grade daughter wants to have a sleepover birthday party, and you need party favors.
  3. The kid down the street, who has been sleeping on his parents’ couch ever since he graduated from college five years ago, because he’s “writing a screenplay,” finally moves into an apartment, and you want to give him something to send him on his way. (You give his parents a bottle of champagne, however.)
  4. You’re the church youth group advisor/band mother/drill team chaperone or some other type of adult volunteer for a high-school group, and need a unisex-type gift or prize for the kids, that isn’t food.

See how easy this could be? Just visit the thrift shop and tell the cashier you want to buy some GIFT CERTIFICATES. (And while you’re at the shop, reward yourself with a little something, too!)

The amazing donors of Team Stone Creek

donation-pick-upWe have thrift shop donors . . . and then we have thrift shop donors. Today we want to tell you about some truly amazing donors! They are called Team Stone Creek, and they’re a student service club of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders at Stone Creek Elementary School in Woodbridge.

At the beginning of the school year, the kids, along with their faculty advisors Mike Clarke, John Hernandez, and Shelley Nishikawa, brainstormed suggestions for service projects. They came up with the idea of a clothing drive to benefit the ALI thrift shop, since they thought most families have old clothing they’d be happy to donate to a good cause. Stone Creek School has a special fondness for the Assistance League of Irvine, since Susan Mehrtens, a long-time ALI member (and incoming chapter president for 2014-15) was the school’s principal from 1998 to 2006. The students felt our thrift shop would be a worthy recipient for their donations.

The 4th graders created a flyer and sent out an e-mail blast to the community, while the 5th graders made posters advertising the event. The 6th grade was in charge of picking up the donations. The clothing drive was a huge success – they collected almost 60 bags of clothing for ALI!  

These amazing kids also held a food drive at Thanksgiving to benefit Families Forward, and sponsored a book drive last month. Their efforts are one of the reasons Stone Creek was recently ranked as the fourth-best elementary school in Orange County (out of 371 schools) by the Orange County Register.

With students like these, we know the future of Irvine is in good hands. Thank you, Stone Creek Elementary School!

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Good Night Mortgage!

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Recently ALI held a very, very special celebration in our Community Outreach Center upstairs from the thrift shop. Yes, shoppers and readers, we’ve done it! We’ve burned our mortgage!

Let’s go back in time a few years, and we’ll explain how we fulfilled this dream of every Irvine property owner. Many of you may remember our original thrift shop on Main Street, near John Wayne Airport. We had a vision of buying a property, where we would have room to host our Operation School Bell clients, provide additional resources to the community, and house our thrift shop. We started a Capital Campaign, and the City of Irvine helped by awarding us a Community Development Block Grant. And in July 2009, we were able to purchase our business condominium unit at 2452 Alton! We made a down payment and took out a 10-year mortgage with a balloon payment due in July, 2019 (typical for commercial real estate loans).

Our new location was an immediate success, and soon our thrift shop was bringing in enough money for us to expand our philanthropic programs AND have extra cash. Our far-sighted finance director, Penny Bolton, pointed out that if we made additional payments on our mortgage, we’d be able to pay off the loan earlier than 2019, plus saving a lot on interest.   A lower mortgage – or no mortgage – down the road would give us even more money to give back to the community. A win-win! Our “Free ALI” fund-raising campaign was born!

Janet Lisle (long-time member and past president of ALI) and her husband, Phil, made a generous donation of seed money, matched by donations from our members, to start off the “Free ALI” campaign. And with hard work from all our members, plus the continued support of OUR THRIFT SHOP CUSTOMERS, we chipped away at that mortgage balance. Then last summer, we received an amazing, if bittersweet, bequest from the estate of another long-time member, Hedy Mulhausen. Hedy’s gift enabled us to pay off the rest of the mortgage in full in September, 2013 – just four years after we took out the loan!

We didn’t ACTUALLY burn the mortgage last week, because that would have set off the fire alarm and the sprinklers – but we burned it in spirit! Many who have shared this journey with us, were there to help us celebrate this momentous occasion – Irvine Mayor Steven Choi, City Council Member Beth Krom, City Manager Sean Joyce, and Jerome Carrasco, Greg Smith, Fawn Tanriverdi, and Margie Wakeham from our Community Advisory Council.

So if you notice extra-wide smiles on the faces of the ALI members the next time you’re at the shop or one of our events, it’s because the mortgage is gone – and we’re SMILING all the way to the bank!

Many memories have been made at our shop – check out some pictures over the years: