We are 23,000 members in 120 chapters nationwide focused on making our communities a better place to live.

Transforming Lives • Strengthening Community


Assistance League in the Community

The Whole House Edit…AKA Spring Cleaning

Rarely do we see the people who purchase our donations at the thrift store, but this experience can have a mind-altering effect on what you may decide to keep vs. donate.  It may also inspire some serious springtime editing of a whole house.

Picture a midnight blue knit jacket, well-known designer, figure-flattering peplum hem and rose-colored lining. Just lovely.  The dust had begun to collect on the shoulders and it had not had any attention (translation: wear) in over a year.  With a heavy sigh from its owner, and new arrivals coming shortly, this garment needed to find a new home.  The item was donated and then purchased during the donor’s shift in the Assistance League Thrift Shop. The buyer was a young gal who commented about it being on-trend, comfy, warm and affordable.  That inspires.  If one jacket can have that sort of impact, perhaps we should take a second glance at our spring cleaning.  Our full homes can be lightened and the donations can positively impact other people’s lives, not to mention our Assistance League programs and therefore, our communities.

Take a look around at the items on shelves and in boxes.  Have you used it in a year?  Why are you saving it?  Are you ever really going to use it, or do you hope to use it? Let it go.  Do you have tablecloths or placemats or bedding that you have not used in years?  Let it go.  Perhaps you have knick knacks of an unremembered origin that do not have as much meaning once you really examine the item.  Let them go.

For many, the clothes closet is the greatest challenge.  Remove everything.  Then take a look at each item, one by one.  If it doesn’t fit or hasn’t been worn in a year, think about positively impacting someone else’s life and donate it.  Try everything on.  If it is questionable, create a “maybe” box.  Put that box aside and take a look again in 3-4 months.  You may decide these items have served their purpose.    Everything you put back into the closet should fit. Do not overstuff.

Most of all, think about a lighter life.  Less quantity.  More quality.  And think about the girl who purchased the blue jacket.  That jacket impacted her life.  Maybe you have items that can impact other people’s lives in ways you may never know.

Find a Chapter or Thrift Shop


million people served


million dollars returned to local communities


million hours of volunteer service

News from our Chapters

Assisteens® Spotlight


Assisteens is the youth auxiliary of Assistance League chapters.  Assisteens provides volunteer opportunities for young people in grades 7 through 12.  The goals are to develop a sense of community responsibility, self-reliance, personal responsibility, poise, public speaking, leadership skills and to support the chapter.  Assisteens raise money in a variety of ways to fund ongoing Assistance League and Assisteens philanthropic programs that benefit their community.

Assistance League was founded in 1919 by Anne (Mrs. Hancock) Banning and her friends, based on an informal charity in Los Angeles started in about 1894.  In the 1890s, social events raised money for local charitable giving. Assistance League, with Anne Banning and Ada Edwards (Mrs. Homer II) Laughlin and friends, provided money and clothing for the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire victims.  When the war started in Europe in 1914, Anne and her friends worked for the Red Cross and, in 1917, set up the Red Cross Shop that raised $150,000 in one year.  After the war ended in 1918, the ladies wanted to continue working together, helping people in need.

In 1919, Assistance League was formally organized, with Good Samaritan providing aid to returning veterans and their families and the Film Location Bureau raising the needed funds by renting private properties to movie companies.  Founding members were prominent women of Los Angeles of all faiths and political views.  In 1923, Assistance League moved to DeLongpre Avenue in Hollywood where the campus of Founder Chapter (Assistance League of Southern California) remains today. The motto was “All For Service and Service For All.”  Anne Banning felt that women worked best in like-minded groups, so auxiliaries were formed.  Day Nursery was added in 1924, followed by Girls’ Club, Theatre for Children, Toy Loan and Boys’ Club. Junior Auxiliary was formed in 1929 for post-college-aged young women.

Read the full history of Assisteens.

We Need Your Help

Join us! Become a part of an incredible group of volunteers who are dedicated to making a difference in your community. Assistance League offers unique volunteer opportunities that fit your interest and time.