Written & compiled by Julie Sage
Do your kids and grandkids look forward every year to “Back to School” shopping?
SHOPPERS BEWARE! Right now, over 80 Assistance League of Greater Placer® member volunteers are shopping with 1700 students at local retail stores in Placer County.
Our Operation School Bell® program provides NEW school clothing to children in need.
The joy of seeing the children smiling and clutching their shopping bags is rewarding for everyone involved…students, parents, guardians, teachers, volunteers and the public.
“As I walked into a major retail store to do some shopping, I was surprised to see people and kids lined up at tables near the entrance inside the store. It appeared to be a friendly gathering and being curious I asked a woman at one of the tables if people were signing up for an opportunity of sorts? She quietly explained this was an Assistance League program to help community families with some school shopping. I was very impressed to see this type of outreach and it looked warm and supportive, not embarrassing or condemning.
I came from a family that needed a hand up occasionally, too. I remember bags of food from church organizations covering our table during lean years, thrift shop furniture and various types of handouts that helped us through hard times. Perhaps the attitude that the assistance is given with was the most important – if it is given with inspiration and not condemnation, it gives hope to the recipient. I saw both types of assist in my growing up years and know it was the inspirational assist that gave me momentum to be the person I am today. I saw that at the Operation School Bell shopping event – very inspirational, friendly assist – the type that says ‘Hold on, you can do it!’ I held my tears of happiness about this event until I moved away from the crowd near the door.” By Jackie (P.S. I joined Assistance League without delay)
“A single father brought his two daughters to the Operation School Bell shopping event. The older daughter focused on helping her younger sister find clothes, hesitating to shop for herself. I finally asked her why. She whispered to me that she just wanted to get a bra so that she would look like the rest of her friends but didn’t know how to ask her Dad. I worked with her to find a couple of bras along with other clothing, then spoke to her Dad who thanked me profusely. At the end of the night when I handed her the bag of clothes including the three bras, she hugged me crying, ‘I will never forget you.’
And that is just one reason I am a Vice Chair for Operation School Bell clothing!” By Vicki
“Thank you Operation School Bell. You really helped me. I needed clothes and things were too small. I really appreciate your help.”
Operation School Bell began in the Auburn area in 1992. We now reach out to all of Placer County and helped clothe 1420 school age children last school year (2015-16).
This program renews hope and self-esteem in students to encourage school attendance, academic performance and citizenship. Students, grades kindergarten through high school, from 17 school districts and 106 schools will be given vouchers for dollar amounts to spend for new school clothes. The amounts are determined by each child’s grade level All Operation School Bell clothing shopping is covered by funds raised by the Assistance League of Greater Placer THRIFT SHOP, grants, fundraisers, and generous donations from volunteers and Placer County community residents.