ALF in Action

The ALF in Action committee identifies a particular need in the community and focuses on meeting that need.  The organization as a whole and ALF, CAP, and Assisteens as individuals participate in these philanthropic projects.  Beginning with the first outreach project in 2012, members collected much needed items for “Skidettes,” an ecumenical group that makes sack lunches for individuals in the downtown area of “skid row.”  Since then, items such as food, personal care products, books, and electronic equipment have been donated that contribute to the health, well-being, and success of those who receive them.  The team continues to create new projects to serve our local foothill community.

Assistance League of Flintridge funds philanthropic programs and outreach projects with earnings from the Bargain Box Thrift Shop which is managed and staffed by member volunteers.

ALF in Action recently celebrated “Action! Week,” a program of National Assistance League focusing on literacy.  Assistance League of Flintridge members generously donated books to support a local school and their mission.  Here is their story.

‘Readers become leaders’
Community program donates new books to NVMI

SUN VALLEY, Calif. – North Valley Military Institute recently received a generous donation of new books from Assistance League of Flintridge (ALF).  ALF is a part of the nationwide Assistance League organization, made up of dedicated and supportive women who are committed to transforming the lives of children and adults through community programs. 

“ALF is a fun and rewarding organization that truly does make a difference,” said Faye Pengra, an ALF member since 2018. 

ALF has various philanthropic program committees that carry out this vision and mission, said Pengra. One such program is the summer school program in La Cañada, which ALF coordinates and runs. They also support the Instrumental Music program and the local drama production. Operation School Bell provides school supplies to children in need, and Assisteens promotes high school student involvement in philanthropic activities.

The committee responsible for the Literary Month donation, Alfies in Action, researches organizations or schools that have needs that they can assist with. This year, they selected North Valley Military Institute to be the recipient of their donation. After doing some research and presenting the school to their committee, they voted to donate $3,000 worth of books to the school.

NVMI has received the donation of books and is currently categorizing and putting them into the library system. The membership of ALF also donated $1,100 from their own pockets, while the Cañada Auxiliary of Professionals donated $2,000 in books, and the high school student service group auxiliary, Assisteens, matched the donation with another $3,000 from their philanthropic funds.

“Thank you so much for making this library possible for our students,” said Robert Wherley, Reading Specialist for NVMI, upon receiving the book donation. 

“Rewarding is one word to describe the feeling of supporting this cause,” said Pengra. “And what does that word mean? For me, it is empowering when it is so successful, and humbling to know that if it weren’t for us all working together, this couldn’t be as successful or even happen. It was some work, but it seems to me that good outcomes always require effort. And like Zak [Lara] stated, ‘Readers become Leaders’! So NVMI, rewarding means that for a while, you light up my life. I hope we have done some of that for you too!”

ALF members work tirelessly to meet essential needs and transform lives through their various philanthropic programs. If you are interested in becoming a part of their organization, visit the ALF website.

During the holidays in 2019, ALF in Action focused their contributions toward Five Acres in Altadena, a nonprofit organization that offers a full continuum of care for children and families in crisis, including foster care, adoption, deaf services, therapeutic residential care for foster youth and community-based mental/behavioral health programs.  Members of ALF and CAP donated festive mugs filled with goodies and wrapped them for giving to 5 Acre families.  Wii game consoles were purchased by ALF and installed for the residents to use while spending time at the facility.  Also, as shown in the photos, many other organizations generously gave toys and gifts and then wrapped them for the families in need.


Throughout 2018 and 2019, the ALF in Action team did several projects supporting elementary-age students in Sunland-Tujunga, including fulfilling holiday “wish lists” and, during ACTION! WEEK, giving a book and a Payless voucher for shoes to each of the children.. The committee also provided dinners on four occasions to Door of Hope in Pasadena.  Members prepared and served the dinners to clients and then provided after-dinner activities for the children.  During ACTION! WEEK, the children were each given a book as well as shoe vouchers for all residents there.  In addition, ALF provided three refurbished computers for use by Door of Hope clients.

ALF Makes a Difference

Each year in October, Assistance League of Flintridge has participated in MAKE A DIFFERENCE DAY, a philanthropic endeavor that is celebrated nation-wide. In 2016, ALF donated over 300 new books to the Plainview Charter Academy Elementary School library in Tujunga.

“When will the new books be here?” an eager student was heard to ask after learning that more than 300 new books would soon be on the school library shelves. Members of Assistance League of Flintridge had organized a book drive for the school, allocating $3000 to purchase new books for the recently renovated library.

Librarian, Luz Mendieta-Lopez, was invited by ALF to compile a list of titles that the students would enjoy. The books were then purchased and donated to the school by Assistance League of Flintridge and its members, many who chose to buy books from the list and donate them individually.

ALF’s gift of books was announced by Plainview Charter Academy Elementary Principal, Kenneth L. Johnson, at a school assembly. Johnson encouraged his students to love books and explained that he had arranged for the school library to be open after hours, two afternoons each week.

The ALF in Action committee also worked closely with Uma Shrivastava, owner of La Cañada Book and Toy Store, to purchase the requested books.  She provided the books for a generous discount.  

Assistance League of Flintridge chose to undertake book drives for its participation in MAKE A DIFFERENCE DAY and LEGACY OF LITERACY, both national programs. Past recipients from ALF for these events include the La Cañada Flintridge County of Los Angeles Public Library in 2012, the Special Day Preschool Classroom at Paradise Canyon Elementary School in La Cañada Flintridge in 2013, Apperson Elementary School in 2014 and Sunland Elementary School in 2015, both in Sunland.

Support for Foster Students

In 2017, when members of Assistance League of Flintridge learned that teens “age out” of foster care as “emancipated minors” on their eighteenth birthday, they wanted to know more. They identified a local high school where there were eight such individuals, and another was living in a neighboring community. These young persons needed to set up housekeeping independently.

The ALF in Action committee consulted with the Foster Youth Achievement Program in Student Health and Human Services, and the Los Angeles County Office of Education, Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program. With their input and guidance, the ALF team compiled a “wish list” of items needed by the teens in foster care. All of them were graduating from high school and planned to continue their education. “Our committee identified these young persons as being deserving of extra support at this transition in their lives,” said Linda Gill, the ALF in Action Chair at that time.

For each person, the committee purchased a lap top computer and a protective sleeve. They also purchased a bedding set including sheets, pillow cases, and comforter.  In addition, a list was posted identifying other items that Assistance League members could purchase individually and donate, including coffee makers, office supplies, household items, and personal care products.

 Contact ALF in Action

For more information or to leave a message for the ALF in Action Chairman, contact the ALF Programs Office.
We will respond as quickly as possible.  Office hours vary.

(818) 790-2211

Assistance League of Flintridge
4607 Oakwood Avenue
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011