Thank You!

Hello, readers and shoppers! As 2018 comes to a close, we’d like to thank all of you for your support of Assistance League of Irvine and our thrift shop.  We like to say that “it takes a village” to keep our shop and our community service programs running, and YOU are a big part of that village! 

Right now our ALI village is focused on Operation School Bell.  This is our largest philanthropy, and provides school clothing and school supplies to income-qualified Irvine students.  For the 2018/19 school year, which began in August, we’ve already served over 600 students.  And thanks to YOUR continued support, we were able to INCREASE the clothing allowance for each grade level this year.  If you’ve been shopping for kids’ clothing recently and seen the prices, you’ll know how excited we were to be able to give our OSB families this additional money.   This is the direct result of all of YOU, because most of our income comes from sales at the thrift shop.

As we celebrate the holidays, let’s be thankful for all that we have here in our Irvine community.  And as we make our New Year’s resolutions, let one of them be, “I’ll continue to be part of the ALI village!”

Thank you… thats all.


We celebrate Memorial Day next Monday, May 25. While we usually blog about our thrift shop or our ALI activities, this time we’d like to remind our blog readers of the history of Memorial Day. It’s easy to get caught up in the three-day weekend, the sales at the mall, and various sports events, and forget why we have a Memorial Day holiday each year.

Memorial Day honors those who have died while serving in our armed forces. It began shortly after the Civil War as “Decoration Day,” in remembrance of the Union and Confederate soldiers who lost their lives in battle. As time passed, the observance was extended to include all those who have given their lives in military service for the nation. “Memorial Day” became the official name of the holiday in 1967. It’s different from Veterans Day in November, when we honor all those who have served in the military.

 In the years following the Civil War, this day was much more personal than it is for most of us now. The nation’s population was much smaller, and practically everyone had either lost a family member in the war, or knew someone who had. For most of us this is no longer the case, but we should take time on Memorial Day to remember those who made this ultimate sacrifice for our country. Fly the flag, attend one of the Memorial Day services here in Irvine, and talk with your children about the meaning of this holiday.   Enjoy the extra day off, your neighborhood barbecue, and the Indianapolis 500 – but take a moment to remember those who made it possible for you to do so.


TargetCartsAuthor Marta Mahoney,  Assistance League of Irvine Member

All you faithful thrift shoppers have been buying up a storm! We know what you’ve been doing with all those tops, pants, housewares, and toys you’ve been buying. But we thought YOU’D like to know what WE’VE been doing with the money from our thrift shop sales over the past couple of months.

We’ve been spending your dollars on our annual “Operation School Bell” philanthropy, which kicks off at the start of every school year. (You may have been at the shop during one of our OSB “Meet & Greets,” and seen families with exuberant school-age kids heading upstairs to our 2nd floor community resource center to meet with our OSB committee.) Operation School Bell provides school clothing and school supplies to low-income students in the Irvine Unified School District, from pre-K through 12th grade. We’ve been helping qualified IUSD students through OSB since 1990.

Every child is allocated a set amount of money to purchase school clothing, on a sliding scale from $75 to $125 depending on grade level. Families come to a “shopping event” at our partner retail store, Target North on Jamboree and Irvine Blvd., to pick out their clothing, and ALI pays Target when they check out. Target provides us with an additional 5% off every transaction for using our Target Redcard, and also extends us a tax exempt status discount.

At the introductory “Meet & Greet,” each student gets a backpack, school supplies, a set of personal care items, and an age-appropriate book to take home. Each family with school-age kids receives a dictionary, and our littlest pre-K people get to pick out a stuffed animal. We also provide parents with information on other resources for low-income families, such as vision care, dental care, the 211 resource guide, and our own scholarships for Irvine Valley College and SAT test prep for high-school students. And we give each family member a $5 gift card to our thrift shop – because everyone should have something new and fun from the thrift store for back-to-school!


We’ve clothed 662 children since August, when the year-round schools started. All the money for these 662 kids came from YOUR thrift shop purchases. Shoppers, that’s a lot of $5 tops and pants! We appreciate every one of you who supports our shop and helps us get these students ready for a successful school year.

No waste here!

clothing-bin-recycling-537x402All the donations that we receive are checked carefully before we put them out on the sales floor – when you buy something at our thrift shop, you’ll know that it’s in good repair, clean, and in working condition! But what happens to donations that are just a little too worn out for our shop? Do we throw them away? Absolutely not! They might not be “ready for Prime Time” but there’s a place for them.

Many of the items we can’t use are passed on to the Salvation Army or Goodwill.  We give re-wearable T-shirts, sweatpants, and sweatshirts to the UCI Medical Center, for patients who need clothing to go home in.  The Garden Grove Unified School District Teen Mother program gets baby clothes and maternity clothes, and the Irvine Animal Shelter gets blankets and towels.  And costume-style clothing or outdated clothing goes to the Irvine Valley College drama department!

So one way or another, your donations won’t go to waste! Keep them coming – and THANKS.