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Since 1994 Operation School Bell has
provided disadvantaged children in Tucson with appropriate clothing to encourage regular
school attendance and increase self-esteem. When children arrive at
Assistance League of Tucson's Philanthropic Programs Center next to the
Assistance League Thrift Shop on Alvernon,
they are greeted by volunteers who work one-on-one with each child to
provide them with clothes and supplies for school as shown on the mannequins
in this picture.
Each child receives brand new clothes consisting of 2 pairs of
shorts, jeans or uniform pants, 1 hooded jacket, 3 shirts/blouses or uniform
shirts, 1 pair of athletic shoes, 6 pairs of underwear, 6 pairs of socks.
They also receive one grooming kit which contains shampoo, soap,
toothbrush, toothpaste, and a comb. For school supplies they receive 1
back pack filled with a notebook, a ruler,
scissors, crayons, pencils, and erasers.
Children in grades K-5 are recommended by teachers, school nurses and
schools in Tucson. Annually more than 3600 children receive clothing at an average cost of $70
per child. Our member buyers shop for the best values and buy in
bulk to keep costs down. The funding for Operation School Bell
comes from proceeds of various fundraising activities, our Thrift Shop
sales, donations and grants.
The children are transported by school personnel to
Assistance League Philanthropic Programs Center where they enjoy choosing their new
clothing. When the children get off the bus, they come into a play
area with brightly colored chairs and tables where there are books, crayons and
paper for coloring as well as a television and computers with educational games.
The children are called into
the clothing and dressing area one at a time by a volunteer who works with the child to choose clothes, shoes, and jackets that
they like and that fit.
Their new belongings are put into a
plastic bag with their name on it and they pick it up when everyone has
had a turn. While the children wait for their turn, there are many
activities to occupy them while they are supervised by the school personnel.
Tucson Unified School District Superintendent, Dr. Elizabeth Celania-Fagen
visited an Operation School Bell dressing in Spring of 2009.
“I was simply amazed the first time I
watched a bus load of my students arrive at Assistance League and leave
with brand new shoes, socks, coat, backpack, clothes, and more. It was
amazingly uplifting - the opportunity every teacher, principal and
superintendent wishes for each of their disadvantaged students.”
Read the complete story of her visit in the
TUSD April 2009 issue of Focus,
written by Sharon Dunham, Communications Specialist/Writer with
photographs by Jes Ruvalcaba from TUSD Communications and Media
Relations. We jumped for joy too to be able to show Dr.
Celania-Fagen our facilities and the results of our philanthropic
programs: lots of happy smiles!
of Tucson, a chapter of Assistance League®, is a
nonprofit, nonpolitical, nonsectarian volunteer service and is
qualified under IRS Code 501(c)(3) and Arizona Tax Credit Law ARS 43-1088.