Some 1,600 needy Bay Area students got their school year off to a positive start, thanks to the work of the Assistance League of the Bay Area, which provided them with new school outfits, hygiene kits and vouchers for new shoes.
This was accomplished through the League’s national signature program called Operation School Bell during the month of August and the beginning of September.
Assistance League serves children from the Clear Creek, Dickinson, Friendswood and La Porte school districts and Bay Area Charter Schools, working closely with school administrators, nurses and counselors to ensure children with the greatest need receive assistance.
“We took our show on the road to La Porte and to Dickinson,” said Operation School Bell Chairman Cindy Senger Lewis. “We clothed almost 400 children at each location.” All other children were clothed at the Assistance League’s Resale Shop in Webster.
Children from pre-kindergarten through high school received 2 pair of jeans, 4 shirts, underwear, socks, a hygiene kit and a gift card to Payless Shoes for a new pair of shoes appropriate to the child’s age and school requirements.
Senger-Lewis credits the Assistance League’s loyal volunteers, as well as the following outside partners for making the La Porte and Dickinson off-site dressing days a success: DuPont, Frost Bank, HK Transit, Ineos, La Porte Rotary, Lighthouse Christian Ministries, M.I. Lewis, Morgan Stanley, Sun Chemical and Target.
“This philanthropic program touches more families than any other program we have,” League President Brunella Altemus said. “We are so thrilled to see our inventory fly off the shelves and into a child’s life! It has been shown that children who don’t have to worry about their clothes or hygiene feel confident about their appearance and can concentrate on learning – not just fitting in,” Altemus added. “Once a student can focus on learning, enthusiasm builds, success in the classroom improves, and students are more apt to stay in school.”
Assistance League budgeted well over $100,000 this year to clothe children in need. The program will continue throughout the majority of the school year as funds allow. Assistance League relies solely upon referrals from its partner schools to identify children for the program. Families looking for assistance are advised to contact their child’s school.
Operation School Bell funding is primarily raised through the League’s award-winning Resale Shop (100 E. NASA Parkway, Suite 80) and its annual fundraiser, a gala event in April. Other generous funding has come from grants such as those received from Boeing Employees Community Fund, Target and Lunar Rendezvous, as well as private and community donations.
Interested individuals or civic groups may find more information on the Assistance League website at www.bayarea.assistanceleague.org.