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!

ALI AWARDS SCHOLARSHIPS AT IRVINE VALLEY COLLEGE

June brings the end of another school year and the excitement of graduation! At ALI, June is also the month when we recognize our scholarship winners. Each June we award two categories of scholarships for students planning to attend Irvine Valley College. One scholarship program is for graduating seniors who attend an Irvine Unified School District High School. The other program is for older students, mainly single parents, who are returning to IVC to further their education and earn a degree.

We’re extremely proud of our scholarship recipients! They are all incredible people who come from a variety of backgrounds and have amazing plans for the future. This June we awarded nine scholarships to graduating high school seniors, and eleven more scholarships to previous high-school winners who will be returning for their 2nd year at IVC. Our adult single-parent program presented scholarships to six new recipients and three who had received awards from us last year.

Our scholarships are funded by our thrift shop sales. So the next time you’re visiting our shop, remember that your purchases are helping these students realize their dreams.

Where can you ride your bike in Irvine? Try this map.

Happy family wearing helmets on a bicycle ride at the park together

The City of Irvine provides a network of on-street and off-street bikeways to encourage the use of bicycles as a safe and convenient means of transportation for both commuting and recreational purposes. This is evident by 301 lane miles of on-street and 54 miles of off-street bikeways provided in the City today. Click here for more information on cycling Irvine. 

Bike Map