Shopper Elizabeth Valera, left, looks through clothes with Lynn Farrell, a store volunteer and member of the Assistance League of Atlanta, at Attic Treasures Thrift Shop in Chamblee. The league helps approximately 40,000 local families every year.

Dunwoody resident Celia Gardner said word-of-mouth prompted her to check out the Attic Treasures Thrift Shop. She liked what she found there.

“I first came to shop after I heard about it,” she said. “Then, I started donating.”

Soon, she became a member of the Assistance League of Atlanta, a philanthropic organization that staffs the thrift shop nestled in Chamblee’s Antique Row.

The Atlanta chapter of the Assistance League, a national charitable organization, claims more than 200 members. About half live in Dunwoody. Others live in Sandy Springs or nearby communities.

Founded more than 30 years ago by 34 Atlantans, the Atlanta chapter broke ground 15 years ago when members built their two-story building in its current location. The building contains the thrift shop, a warehouse, office space, storage areas and a donation center.

“When we hear the doorbell ring in the donation center we know an angel has arrived,” member and Dunwoody resident Lynn Farrell said.

The thrift shop has gently-used clothing, shoes and gifts for the home. All revenue generated from the shop goes directly to those in need, member Marie Drake said.

League members Marilyn Steele, left, and Lynn Farrell, prepare bags of new clothing for children. Steele is the liaison between “Operation School Bell,” and Fulton and DeKalb Public Schools’ social workers, who identify youngsters in need.

Members volunteer to work at their local chapter and contribute between $70 and $95 in annual membership fees. There are no paid employees and nothing goes to waste. Members call themselves “worker bees.”

Drake, who also lives in Dunwoody, said donations from the general public and corporations are always needed. “There are many people in need, which is the reason we are here,” she added.

Drake emphasized the chapter could not function without the additional assistance of non-member community volunteers who may lend a hand in sorting donated items in the warehouse or making deliveries and picking up donated furniture alongside some of the members’ husbands.

Drake said that through their multiple philanthropic programs, they help approximately 40,000 people in need within the community every year. This figure includes 6,000 to 8,000 elementary public school children who are the beneficiaries of “Operation School Bell,” a program that provides children with new clothing every year.

What: Attic Treasures Thrift Shop

Where: 3534 Broad Street

Chamblee, Ga. 30341

Hours: Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat.: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thurs: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Merchandise donations accepted:

Mon-Sat: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Website:

www.assistanceleagueatl.org.

Sherry Waugh, a member from Sandy Springs, said that through another program they bring approximately 20-24 women a year to their thrift shop from Mary Hall Freedom House and outfit them “with appropriate clothes for job interviews.”

“This program is near and dear to my heart,” she said.

Gardner, who works in the shop on Saturdays, said her favorite part of the job is the people she works with and the customers she meets.

Frequent shoppers include Shirley Eidson and Elizabeth Valera.

“Many of my favorite things come from this thrift shop,” Eidson said.

“It’s fun to find things here,” said Valera, a full-time employee and graduate student. “My mom and her friends come here too.”