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Transforming Lives • Strengthening Community


Assistance League in the Community

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
now lay empty, flung over a chair.
The decorations are gone, the presents forsaken,
the tree and garland, all down, have been taken,
Up to the attic, put away for the year.
Say goodbye to the season of cheer.
But look, over yonder, curled up in the chair,
See in the corner, a child is there!
Immersed in a story of wonder, delight,
wrapped in a blanket, lost to the night.
Mystery, suspense, fantasy, art,
What can it be that captures the heart?
Oh, to see a dream come true,
A book for every child to view.
Travel, history, planets, more
To learn and dream and wish, explore.
My tears fall softly like the mist,
Now that completes my Christmas list.

Assistance League ACTION! Week will be here soon. Chapters are making plans to participate in this nationwide effort to raise awareness of the importance of promoting childhood literacy and putting books in the hands of children who might not have access to them. How will your chapter participate?

Consider the following facts:

In low income communities, books and educational resources are scarce. Kids start school behind their more affluent peers and never catch up.
 A record number of kids are growing up in need.
 •More than half of U.S. public school students live in low income households.
Public education and programs are deeply underfunded.
•23 states are spending less on education than before the 2008 recession.
Without adequate resources, children cannot learn.
•79% of fourth graders from low income households do not read proficiently.
The impact of this cycle is staggering.
•Poor educational outcomes are tied to future poverty, unemployment, illness, and crime.

Help us honor the birthdate of our founder, Anne Banning, and join in Assistance League ACTION! Week, February 25 – March 3, 2019.

Sources: National Center for Education Statistics, Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, Annie E. Casey Kids Count, World Literacy Foundation

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News from our Chapters

Most people are familiar with all the good things the Assistance League® (founded in 1919) does for communities nationwide. Things like Operation School Bell, which provides clothing for students, some of whom have never owned an article of new clothing, while also building self-esteem, improving school attendance and raising grades. Things like establishing thrift shops […]

Excited and enthusiastic Brownie Girl Scouts from Troop No. 2592 recently visited the Assistance League Resale store to work toward earning their badge in philanthropy. We welcomed nine 7-year-olds who all came ready to learn. Philanthropy is a difficult word to say, but they learned what it means. We discussed the difference between a “want” […]

Assistance League of Pasadena continues its partnership with the Pasadena Unified School District with the School Supplies for Success Program.  The goal of the program is to provide school supplies to financially underserved students during the second semester when support from many agencies has waned. To that end, Assistance League of Pasadena recently delivered Middle School supply kits […]

Assisteens® Spotlight


Assisteens is the youth auxiliary of Assistance League chapters.  Assisteens provides volunteer opportunities for young people in grades 7 through 12.  The goals are to develop a sense of community responsibility, self-reliance, personal responsibility, poise, public speaking, leadership skills and to support the chapter.  Assisteens raise money in a variety of ways to fund ongoing Assistance League and Assisteens philanthropic programs that benefit their community.

Assistance League was founded in 1919 by Anne (Mrs. Hancock) Banning and her friends, based on an informal charity in Los Angeles started in about 1894.  In the 1890s, social events raised money for local charitable giving. Assistance League, with Anne Banning and Ada Edwards (Mrs. Homer II) Laughlin and friends, provided money and clothing for the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire victims.  When the war started in Europe in 1914, Anne and her friends worked for the Red Cross and, in 1917, set up the Red Cross Shop that raised $150,000 in one year.  After the war ended in 1918, the ladies wanted to continue working together, helping people in need.

In 1919, Assistance League was formally organized, with Good Samaritan providing aid to returning veterans and their families and the Film Location Bureau raising the needed funds by renting private properties to movie companies.  Founding members were prominent women of Los Angeles of all faiths and political views.  In 1923, Assistance League moved to DeLongpre Avenue in Hollywood where the campus of Founder Chapter (Assistance League of Southern California) remains today. The motto was “All For Service and Service For All.”  Anne Banning felt that women worked best in like-minded groups, so auxiliaries were formed.  Day Nursery was added in 1924, followed by Girls’ Club, Theatre for Children, Toy Loan and Boys’ Club. Junior Auxiliary was formed in 1929 for post-college-aged young women.

Read the full history of Assisteens.

We Need Your Help

Join us! Become a part of an incredible group of volunteers who are dedicated to making a difference in your community. Assistance League offers unique volunteer opportunities that fit your interest and time.