DO YOU NEED DECORATIONS? WE’VE GOT ‘EM!

It’s the end of September, and we all know what that means.  We’ve come to that point in the year that we all dread.  NO,  not back-to-school.  Everyone is HAPPY about back-to-school. The little kids are no longer underfoot all day, and the big kids are no longer sitting around eating all your food.  No – we’re talking about an activity that strikes fear into all our hearts.  It’s – TIME TO LOOK FOR THE HOLIDAY DECORATIONS! Yes – all those holidays.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s.  Plus plain old Fall and Winter.

I’m convinced that someone could develop an entire reality TV show competition about searching for the decorations.  Are they in the garage? In the rafters of the garage? In the attic? In that bedroom where you’re keeping all the boxes you never unpacked when you moved in five years ago? You can remember writing down the place where you put them on a piece of paper, but now you can’t find the piece of paper.  You can remember putting a note in your phone, but you just got a new phone and the “notes” section didn’t transfer over.  About the only thing you can be sure of, because very, very few of us have basements, is that they’re not in the basement.

Many of us, after looking for a couple of days, simply give up and decide to buy NEW decorations, year after year.  It’s not a defeat! It’s an opportunity! Over the next three months, the ALI thrift shop will have an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING SELECTION OF HOLIDAY DECORATIONS! You can find anything you want, for any holiday you want, at a fantastically low price.  And the money you spend with us goes right back to our community.

If you find your decorations, more power to you! But if you don’t, you know where to go for new ones!

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I’m ‘Not Shopping’ – no really….

Today’s story is about . . . Not shopping. Notice we didn’t say “Never shopping.” This IS, however, a story about the ALI thrift store. We WANT you to come in and shop with us. (We’d especially like some readers to come in and buy all those winter coats and ski jackets that people donated to us after their once-in-a-lifetime trip to see the snow in Big Bear.)

But you don’t need to shop 24 hours a day. This is the holiday season of Christmas and Hanukkah, and even if you’re not particularly religious, a time to take stock of where you are in life as the new year approaches. “Not shopping” means spending time during the holidays with your family, your friends, and those in need of help. “Not shopping” means reaching out to others with love and attention, letting them know you’re glad they’re a part of your life. It means spending a morning serving meals at a homeless shelter, instead of endlessly circling the parking lot at the mall. It means simply taking a long walk along the beach, or on one of Irvine’s urban trails, and reflecting on the beauty of the natural world.

We know you’ll still be looking for that perfect gift (which is why you need to come to the thrift store), but try to make “not shopping” part of your holidays this year.

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!

WHAT WE’RE THANKFUL FOR

As Thanksgiving approaches, here’s the Assistance League of Irvine version of that holiday tradition where you go around the table and everyone names one thing they’re thankful for:

  • We’re thankful for the chance to live in Irvine, a safe and beautiful city in the best country in the world.
  • We’re thankful that we have the resources – time, health, and opportunity – to give back to our community.
  • We’re thankful for those who donate to our thrift shop. You care enough to make the trip over to our shop with the clothes and household items you no longer need, instead of tossing them in the dumpster.
  • We’re thankful for those of you who donate cash or personal services to us – these make a huge difference in our ability to fund our philanthropies.
  • We’re thankful for the teachers, school counselors, and school nurses who help direct families to our Operation School Bell and Scholarship programs.
  • We’re thankful for the help of Target North in the Irvine Marketplace, our partner store where our OSB clients shop for school clothing.
  • We’re thankful for the Irvine Unified School District art specialists and the student artists who make up our annual “Young Masters” exhibitors at City Hall each spring – so much talent in one city!
  • We’re thankful for our Assisteens, who are devoting time in middle school and high school to helping others, through a variety of activities.
  • And we’re thankful for all of you thrift shop customers (and blog readers!) – you’re our partners in this whole endeavor.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING from Assistance League of Irvine!

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!

JUNE IS BUSTIN’ OUT ALL OVER

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By Marta Mahoney

To quote James Russell Lowell:

“And what is so rare as a day in June?

Then, if ever, come perfect days . . . “

Now, he didn’t write, “Perfect SHOPPING days,” but that’s what we have at the ALI thrift shop in June. We’ve COMPLETELY re-stocked the store with summer merchandise. Summer tops and pants for women, Hawaiian shirts for men, bathing suits and cover-ups, board shorts, regular shorts. Summer pool and barbecue accessories. Fun jewelry to go with all your summer outfits. Beach books for vacation reading.

Come in and check out our housewares, kids’ clothing, toys, and home decor. And don’t forget our home office/tech area if you’re trying to organize paperwork at the end of the school year.

We can’t really say that everything in the shop is new, because it’s “gently used.”   But it’s all NEW TO YOU in June. Time for some perfect shopping days!