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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

Dressing 1,136 children in San Mateo County this school year to date, Operation School Bell® helps disadvantaged youth get ready for school. The program provides free and new clothing to needy students in grades K-7 in a total of 21 schools from Daly City to East Palo Alto. The aim is to improve the health, […]

On December 11, 2018, Assistance League of San Jose was honored before the San Jose City Council at its monthly meeting. In August, Assistance League of San Jose was celebrating its 25th anniversary in the Operation School Bell® program which provides school uniforms to students in three different school districts in the San Jose area. […]

Thanks to you, over $35,000 was raised by the Assistance League of Everett’s 2018 Holiday Home Tour held on Dec. 3. Funds raised will go to support our philanthropic programs serving children, teens and adults in our community who are facing hardship, poverty and homelessness. Our largest program, Operation School Bell®, provides new school clothes […]

Members of Assistance League of Montgomery County awarded the Ada Edwards Laughlin Award to Cheryl Hochberger at their annual Christmas luncheon. Cheryl has been a member since 2013, and she is known for giving outstanding “behind the scenes” service in a relatively inconspicuous way. When working at the shop, Cheryl can be seen putting the […]

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.