By Meghann Finn Sepulveda
Assistance League of East Valley, in partnership with Valley entrepreneur Michael Pollack, the Chandler Fire Department and other community volunteers, celebrated the unveiling of the organization’s new thrift store, located at 2326 N. Alma School Rd., in Chandler, on Oct. 21. Those in attendance were encouraged to “Stuff the Bus,” by bringing new sweatshirts, socks and tennis shoes for children in need.
The need for a larger space was inevitable for the nonprofit organization that provides nearly 7,500 at-risk school children each year with new clothing and approximately 4,000 assault survivor kits containing clothing and personal care items to 10 agencies that work with children and adults in crisis situations.
Susan Harrison, project manager for Assistance League of East Valley, reached out to longtime supporter Pollack for help.
Pollack, owner of Michael A. Pollack Real Estate Investments, intended to renovate the 8,256-square-foot stand-alone building on Alma School Road and was in negotiations with several national tenants before he received a call from Harrison.
“When Susan called me, she told me they needed more space but didn’t have a large budget,” Pollack said. “We knew we had to give this worthwhile organization not only a bigger and brighter space, but provide them with a location that is centrally located in Chandler.”
Formerly occupied by Oasis Furniture, the new location is expected to serve the organization well.
“Assistance League of East Valley is now in a position of incredible visibility at a price they can afford,” Pollack said. “The organization has an opportunity to expand their mission and ultimately help more people.”
As part of his continuing support of Assistance League of East Valley, Pollack provided monetary support and donated resources and supplies needed to make the essential renovations to the new site possible. He also agreed to rent the space to the organization for the next five years at a reduced rate.
“I’ve met some of the kids who have benefited from this organization and have seen the smiles on their faces,” he said. “It has been so rewarding and I’m grateful I was able to do it.”
Approximately 300 people attended the grand opening event, including Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny, who kicked off with a brief ceremony. He was followed by musical performances by San Marcos Spanish Coro and the Boulder Creek Elementary Bell Choir.
Pollack was presented with the National School Bell Award by Assistance League of East Valley.
“Not only did we want to celebrate our move, but we also wanted to bring attention to our brand, get support from the community and recognize the people who have helped us,” Harrison said.
The Chandler Fire Department, also a supporter of Assistance League of East Valley, along with the Chandler Unified School District and East Valley Institute of Technology participated in the event.
Assistance League of East Valley assesses the needs of the community and addresses them through its programs, which are evaluated annually and adjusted when necessary. The funds to support these philanthropic programs are raised through major fundraising events as well as individual, corporate and foundation support.
The grand opening day for the new thrift shop generated $3,526 in sales. An additional $1,342 was contributed to the school house bank, $660 to the shoe card and $455 was raised from the proceeds of the silent auction.
“It was an exciting and beautiful day,” Harrison said. “We absolutely accomplished what we set out to do.”
To learn more about Assistance League of East Valley, visit assistanceleagueeastvalley.org.