Just announced! Assisteens hit a new goal!

By Carol McVeigh

Scissors cut, irons phft, machines hum.  And receiving blankets are sewn.

Every year Assisteens undertake this philanthropy – to sew and donate 100 receiving blankets to a local hospital – meeting as small groups several times in Assisteen family homes.

But this year they elected to use the Chapter House, promoting the fact that Assisteens are an auxiliary of ALIrvine; our Chapter House is theirs, too. Further, they elected to produce all blankets at one meeting, so they can gather as a group, and they can learn many skills needed to plan for, supply, manage, and operate a production line.

Assisteens purchased yards and yards of soft flannel, recruited 17 sewing machines (some really really old, some just old, some hardly used, some new) and 17 people to sew (six were Assisteens!).  They located irons and ironing boards, and recruited fabric measurers and cutters, ironers, and folders. They also devised a best “process flow” to efficiently produce a well-sewn, quality blanket.

On Sunday, October 15, at 3:00 the production line started with a goal to make 100 blankets in four hours.  Initially there were a few bottlenecks but quick analysis and rapid implementation of new process flows kept the line moving.   It was an excellent learning experience for Assisteens, and great fun for their parents and ALI members who participated.

The finished blankets – all 102 of them – were beautiful.   Into each carefully folded blanket, as the last process, an Assisteen tucked a note – “with love from Assisteens of Irvine.”

Are you intersted in learning more about this program? Click here or please contact (949) 798-5020.

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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!

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.

Something exciting happened at ALI!

Gray skies and a light drizzle couldn’t dampen the spirits at Assistance League of Irvine on Monday, Feb. 20th.

A flatbed truck carrying the components of our much-anticipated (and much-needed) steel mezzanine pulled into our back parking lot. We knew something exciting is about to happen and been in the works for awhile.

Our ALI members on hand were ready to greet the delivery at 7 am cheery faced. And, why not? After two years of researching and planning, our dream of adding more space to our backroom was coming true. When installation is complete, the steel structure will virtually double our on-site work space, giving us more room to process donations of gently used clothing, household goods, toys, books and other treasures to our Thrift & Gift Shop.

Donations are the lifeblood of our operations. Why? Because sales from our Shop are the major source of funding for our philanthropic programs. So, you might say that adding a steel mezzanine to our backroom will help us better serve those Irvine families in need. And that’s really something to cheer about!

Come by and check out the new remodel once complete!

  • Wednesday 10 – 3 PM
  • Thursday 10 – 3 PM
  • Friday 10 – 5:30 PM – Temporary Feb 1 – March 30 closing @ 3PM
  • Saturday 10 – 3 PM

ASSISTANCE LEAGUE OF IRVINE THRIFT SHOP

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

Welcome to Irvine, aka ‘Little Seattle’

Irvine is having so much rain right now I’m starting to think we should re-name Irvine “Little Seattle.”  Here in Southern California, we’re not used to entertaining ourselves on days when it’s too stormy to even drive to the mall.  After an hour of “Storm Watch Breaking News,” on TV, it gets boring.  What can you do?

The ALI thrift store can give you lots of ideas for rainy-day activities.  You’ll have to make a trip to the shop BEFORE it rains, but you were planning to do that anyway, right?

For kids:

  • We always have miscellaneous craft supplies, and with some scissors and glue the kids can put their creativity to work.  (You’ll have to clear off the dining room table, but you can put all that stuff back once it stops raining.)
  • Pick out some of our more unusual or vintage-look clothing and keep it in a “dressing up” box.  The kids can make up a play where this box provides costumes and props. 
  • Board games and jigsaw puzzles are rainy-day staples. We’re constantly getting new donations of games and puzzles, and these are fun activities for the whole family.
  • For the grown-ups:
  • This is the time to try out that espresso machine/panini maker/blender/set of cookie cutters in the shape of flowers that you found at the thrift shop on your last visit.
  • This is the time to start that knitting project/sewing project/scrapbook that you found supplies for at the thrift shop on your last visit.
  • If you just feel like curling up by the fire, we have books, books, books! (Lots of kids’ books, too!) And DVDs!

Don’t worry – it will stop raining eventually.  But in the meantime, the thrift shop has plenty of things to keep you and your family busy!

LOOKING FOR A WAY TO GIVE BACK?

Here’s a quote from one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Carole King:

“Good people help their neighbors in communities every day. Whether through military service, political activism, volunteering at a school, hospital, or library, or simply through quotidian acts of kindness, each of us has something to contribute to improve another person’s life.” (from Carole King’s autobiography, A Natural Woman)

 If you’re reading this blog, you’re familiar with the Assistance League of Irvine and what we do to help our community. But have you ever thought about joining us? We currently have 118 members, with more joining us every month. We have several levels of membership or volunteer opportunities, that can accommodate just about anyone’s schedule. Our members have diverse backgrounds and interests, and along with our philanthropic work, we have a LOT of fun!

If you’re looking for a way to give back to your community, or want to expand your activities and your circle of friends, stop by our thrift shop at 2452 Alton (between Jamboree and Von Karman) and fill out a membership interest form. You can also email us at: membership@irvine.assistanceleague.org. Our membership chair will call you and meet with you to give you more information about ALI. We’d love to have you join us!