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History

1947-1949, First Thrift Shop

1947-1949, First Thrift Shop

First Thrift Shop Founders

First Thrift Shop Founders

Old Thrift Shop Interior

Old Thrift Shop Interior

AL Thrift Shop

AL Thrift Shop

1952, 1st Dental Office

1952, 1st Dental Office

Patient in the Dental Chair

Patient in the Dental Chair

Assistance League of Newport-Mesa was founded as a chartered chapter of National Assistance League in 1940. Originally called, Assistance League of Newport Beach, our Thrift Shop and offices were located on the Balboa Peninsula. Chapter is the governing body of the organization and is supported by five auxiliaries. Our major philanthropic programs are the Cheri Harris Dental Center, Kids on the Block®, Operation School Bell®, and Community Outreach Program. Proceeds from our Thrift Shop, Treasures on Consignment Shop, fundraising events, grants and endowments provide the major financial support for the philanthropic programs. Assistance League of Newport-Mesa has served the community for seventy-five years and is unique in that we serve the community according to its needs. Our varied programs reflect that purpose.

    Throughout our history, we have grown with the needs of the community. In the 1940’s, Chapter helped organize the Red Cross Thrift Shop and book loan program for servicemen. In the early 1950’s, members raised funds needed to build the Costa Mesa Boy’s Club as well as assisting with the funding of Hoag Hospital. As there was a need for nurses, we provided a scholarship and revolving loan fund for nursing students at Orange Coast College. The Children’s Dental Health Center was established in 1952 and later an orthodontics program was added. As needs presented themselves, Chapter developed a social service program, contributed to “Go Forth” for the learning disabled, and the Youth Program Center Hotline.

    While we have contributed to and raised funds for special programs, our policy is to develop and manage our own philanthropic programs. The need for a day care facility providing low cost childcare for working parents was a program that could not be denied. Chapter opened the doors to the Grace Hoag Cottage in 1972. In 1984 and 1986 respectively, Operation School Bell and Kids on the Block were added to our philanthropic programs. In 1997, the Grace Hoag Cottage was closed after twenty-five years of operation. In its place, the Scholarship Program, now called Community Outreach Program, was created.

    The 1990’s found Assistance League of Newport Beach bursting at the seams. The Children’s Dental Health Center had a long waiting list. Space in the Thrift Shop was limited, our building was overcrowded and financial needs kept expanding. The property in Newport Beach was sold to its neighbor, St. James Episcopal Church, and a property on Fairview Road in Costa Mesa was purchased. Our name became Assistance League of Newport-Mesa to reflect the relocation. The Thrift Shop, Treasures on Consignment, The Children’s Dental Health Center, Operation School Bell and Kids on the Block are all housed in our current building. A multi-purpose room on the second floor is used for meetings. In May 1997, we celebrated a major milestone by paying off the mortgage on the Fairview Road property and holding a “burn-the-mortgage” party. In 2004, The Children’s Dental Health Center was renamed The Cheri Harris Dental Center to honor Past President, Cheri Harris, for her years of dedication and service to the center.