Upon first impression, the storefront of Treasures and Things isn’t very impressive. Quiet and small from the outside, the store exudes the familiar hole in the wall of most out of the way thrift shops. But upon entering, I discovered it was more than appearances. This store was the basis of much revenue for the Assistance League of Southern California.
Anne Banning and eleven of her friends founded the Assistance League in 1919 as a way to provide job and housing referrals and material goods to families affected by World War I. Today, 75 years later, the League provides so many more services for individuals and families affected in one way or another by hard times. To learn more about their programs, click here.
I met with Susan Royce, the manager of Treasure’s and Things and the first thing she had to say was look for us under a new name. Apparently, some people in search of her thrift store want to spend their money to help out the many good causes of the Assistant League and they were passing by because they didn’t see any signs to that effect. So now they can be found as The Assistance League of Southern California Thrift Shop, boldly displayed above the store’s front door.
The store is so well organized it didn’t take any thinking to find the men’s clothes, or the books, or the new spring clothes being set out. Susan has even implemented color organizing which as a shopper myself, makes finding things that appeal to me even easier. Susan and her volunteer staff go out of their way to answer questions about the League and their merchandise. One time, a woman of a small size called and asked for clothes in her size. Susan thought of her immediately and called back when an entire wardrobe of size two clothes came in. The woman rushed in to buy almost everything that had come in.
Cleanliness is also an issue for the store. All items are inspected, cleaned if necessary and then organized to be tagged and put on the floor. They have a lot of donations from well-to-do folks so the quality of the merchandise is high but as I noticed, the prices were very reasonable. Versace, Armani, Jeffery Bean, and custom made garments can be found on the racks as well as normal fair. A pair of jeans, from the standard lot to high priced labels never reached more than $15.00. The object of the thrift store is to help out low-income families and individuals, so everything they sell is within reach. In certain instances, Susan has even authorized lay-a-way plans for those really having trouble making ends meet.
I think if you are in the area, you should really drop by this wonderful oasis in Los Angeles. Not only will your purchases help children families and senior citizens all over the county; your visit will be met with a smile and a sense of family. I encountered many stories being told among regulars as I drifted through the aisles taking pictures. I came away wishing I had brought my wallet to purchase some really neat items. There is also generous parking behind the store which as a fellow LA citizen, that’s important to know. Enter the parking lot through the alley behind Astro Burger on Melrose and Gower.
Background information on the Assistance League of Southern California:
This is just a small taste of the services that the ALSC provides for the community. You can learn more by clicking the link at the top of the page.
For children there are so many ways the ALSC helps. They provide daycare, pre-school, and kindergarten to low income families. There is even a theatre they put on two shows a season. They are bussed in from all over the county and beyond to attend heartwarming fairy tales and other meaningful dramas to educate and entertain all at the same time. You can find out more about their current season by calling 323-469-1973.
For families, seniors and individuals there is counseling to help those in need. For seniors they also offer day services like trips to Las Vegas and community activities with other s they might have something in common with. The Over 50’s Club is volunteer-supported for seniors seeking socialization opportunities with their peers through playing bridge, holiday celebrations, and other enriching activities. If you can’t cook your meals, they deliver that too! Call the number mentioned above if you need more information.
As I said, I cannot possibly go into detail on how many services the ALSC provides. They do complete justice with their website. I encourage you to check them out if you have further questions.
Thanks again, to Susan Royce and Janet Harrison for giving up their time to tell me more about the ALSC.
The Assistance League of Southern
California Thrift Shop
formerly Treasure’s and Things
5635 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038