We are 26,000 members in 120 chapters nationwide focused on making our communities a better place to live.


Assistance League in the Community

Retired Teachers Join Assistance League

“I love working with children, and want to do more than what I’m doing now.”

According to Tom Murphy, United Federation of Teachers, “[volunteering] is in their DNA… a call to duty… a sense of idealism and social justice.”

Murphy, UFT’s Retired Teachers Chapter Leader, is explaining why retired teachers volunteer in such large numbers, many in their local Assistance League chapters. Retired teachers work hands-on in programs that serve children and adults; and serve as board members and committee chairman, oftentimes wearing more than one hat at a time.

This call to duty, inherent throughout teachers’ careers, takes new and unexpected turns as time allows former educators to broaden their sense of commitment beyond the classroom. Teachers have always supported parents’ efforts to raise their children socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually, and can continue to do so by volunteering for Assistance League.

Operation School Bell®   is one several Assistance League programs that serve children by providing school appropriate clothing. Teachers have seen first hand how the lack of proper clothing can affect a child’s self esteem.

Chapters also run food pantries, literacy programs, dental and vision clinics and provide support for abuse and trauma victims. Teachers know that hungry children have a difficult time focusing on their lessons; and that toothaches, hearing or vision impairment and emotional distress all contribute to poor concentration and learning.

As your chapter plans its 2016 recruitment efforts, think about tapping into the education community. Query your membership, call local teacher associations or contact schools where your chapter has a presence to ask for the names of retiring or retired teachers.

Invite teachers to an open house to thank them for their years of teaching and explain how they can continue to serve children as an Assistance League member volunteer or community volunteer. Do you have programs close to their heart? Teachers love literacy. Do you have a thrift shop where they can volunteer?  Are they computer savvy?  Would they enjoy fundraising – events, grants, or speakers’ bureau – teachers have a lot of experience speaking in front of an audience. No doubt about it, retired teachers can continue to make a difference through Assistance League.

Assistance League in the Community

Operation School Bell®

Can you imagine never having a new pair of shoes, only attending school half of the time as you must share your clothes with a sibling or an entire family sharing one toothbrush?  This is happening to 50% of the children in our country.  Operation School Bell, the national program of Assistance League, strives to meet the needs of children across our country.  During the past year, over 331,000 children were reached by the 120 chapters.  Since the program was started in 1958, over 4.3 million school-age children have been served.

Many chapters provide new school clothing, shoes and coats along with other items, including backpacks, books, school supplies and food for the weekend, in their programs.  Another aspect of this program is to provide dental or vision care and personal care kits.  The goals of providing children with these items are raising self-esteem, building confidence in the students and make a tremendous impact in their education.  This program also reduces the teasing and bullying of these students.

Watching the children as they are given new shoes, shop for clothing for the first time or receiving a new backpack is as rewarding to the member as it is for the children.  Whether the chapter provides vouchers, shops with the students in a local store or clothes them in their own facility, the members feel such a bonding with these students.  Operation School Bell takes a huge amount of effort, dedication, funding and manpower, which is willingly given by the members.

Find a Chapter or Thrift Shop



million dollars returned to local communities


million people served


million hours of volunteer service

News from our Chapters

Community Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Kathy Baskerville
Volunteer from Assistance League of Salem-Keizer

How does a career as a crime scene cleaner, a bachelors degree in psychology, and experience working on a crisis hotline all combine to make the perfect community volunteer at a furniture store?  Just ask Kathy Baskerville, who volunteers 12 hours per month at Assistance League of Salem-Keizer’s Encore Furniture Store.  When Kathy came in to shop for furnishings a few years ago and learned that one of the chapter’s programs helps young adult foster children set up their first household, she immediately wanted to help- and knew she could.  Her skills all came together to give her the volunteer job she loves- working with furniture and décor, keeping things very clean and knowing how to listen to customers.

Kathy feels that her contribution helps provide the kind of helping hand she wishes she had received when she was a foster child in Portland during her youth.  Sometimes everything comes together for just the right reasons!

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.