Support League Thrift Store: The Hidden Gem -

Support League Thrift Store: The Hidden Gem –

I met Donna Barnard on Saturday November 12 to visit the thrift store. She was wearing a sweater and pants, an outfit from Assistance League Thrift Store that she had purchased. Donna introduced me to Assistance League President Gayle Chiotte, who showed me around the facility.

The Fullerton Assistance League (ALF) opened the thrift store at 233 W. Amerige, Fullerton, in 1959, and it’s been thriving ever since. It is made up of members of the ALF and the Assisteens who only work on Saturdays. I spoke with two Assisteens who started volunteering two years ago when they were 11 years old. One said it felt good to see the benefits of good deals for customers.

Money from the thrift store serves the needs of the community not only in Fullerton, but also in La Habra, Placentia, Brea, Yorba Linda and Buena Park. For Thanksgiving, there were baskets containing donated turkeys and all the trimmings provided by the Assisteens. Part of the assistance provided is money for a shopping spree at Target for clothes and school supplies, and for scholarships for high school students at LaVista. The funds are disbursed as scholarships to students at Fullerton Joint Union High School District and California State University Fullerton. Students and their families in need are referred by the schools.

It was eleven o’clock on a Saturday when I arrived, and the store was packed with customers sorting through upgraded second-hand clothes, handbags, jewelry, books, homewares, art, handbags , ornaments, games, tableware, glassware and accessories. All the items were neatly displayed and I was drawn to a closed room which was added last year which had lots of Christmas items. I could have spent hours looking at all the items, and I couldn’t wait to shop!

A back room contains donated items that have been sorted, hung on hangers, and appraised. Donations come from estates and garage sales, and what one member said, our loyal and grateful donors. Most donors and buyers know Assistance League Thrift Store by word of mouth. Maybe with this article they will know more from the Fullerton Observer. The secret is revealed!

I met a customer who came to the thrift store when she was a child with her mother and now her daughter comes here, which makes it three generations of buyers! A man was trying on a blue overcoat that looked brand new! The homeless or what used to be called the homeless get a free outfit.

Young people have also been drawn to thrift stores and buy items at low prices, for example $5, and resell them on websites such as Facebook Market and the Offer Up for $60 app. This is called “savings”.

I spoke with regular customers, Anthony Apodaca and Lauren Ybama who had an old wooden bread box to buy. They frequently buy furniture and other household items there. Like other customers, they were enthusiastic about their bargains.

Next door at 223 W Amerige is the Operation School Bell (OSB) building containing uniforms, backpacks, and underwear for traditional kindergarten and elementary students. Hygiene items for secondary students such as deodorant and tissues have been requested by schools for students. This program is managed by OSB President, Ellie Westenhaver. On two of the walls are murals painted by longtime Fullerton artists Tony and Judi Trasport. Meals on Wheels shares the building. The Assistance League of Fullerton is also raising funds through the current benefit, “Sock it to Um” and “Taste of the Town”, which will be held at Hanger 21 on the first Saturday of June 2023. So put on Assistance League Thrift Store at 233 W Amerige mark your calendars on Tuesday, Thursday and/or Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a “real treat”.

By the way, I bought a few items, and after my daughter and a friend read this article, they were excited to go to the Fullerton Assistance League thrift store! And remember that what you spend benefits those in need.

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