The Assistance League® of Albuquerque celebrates 60 years!

Assistance League members on city buses

This year Assistance League® of Albuquerque (ALA) celebrates 60 years of service to the community!  April will begin a year-long celebration of the many philanthropic programs, individuals, and groups, which make ALA’s service to the community possible.  Each month will be filled with interviews, events, and activities to celebrate a specific ALA program.  It’s only fitting that the celebrations begin with celebrating the history of the Albuquerque chapter in April.

It wasn’t always called Assistance League.  In 1959, a group of 23 women founded the Service League of Albuquerque.  The members taught classes, cooked, and chaperoned Saturday Night Dances and began the major programs such as the Hospitality House for senior citizens in the Heights Community Center.  In April of 1962, the group became the 28th chapter of Assistance League®, a national organization dedicated to service in the community.  Stay tuned to KRQE for interviews and announcements and check out the ALA website.  It would be impossible to include all of ALA’s 60-year history in one article, so selected highlights are listed below.

  • 1959-1960: ALA began as The Service League of Albuquerque.  Its members taught classes, cooked, and chaperoned Saturday Night Dances, and began the major programs such as the Hospitality House for senior citizens.
  • 1961-1962: The Bargain Box, now the Thrift Shop, opened in June.
  • 1966-1967: A new program was begun for displaced junior and senior high school girls.
  • 1977-1978: Blue Portal, a gift shop in Old Town with merchandise created by senior artisans, was opened to help seniors augment their income.  The shop continues to this day.
  • 1991-1992: A new program, Buddy Bear Patrol, was established to distribute Buddy Bears to the Albuquerque Police Department for children in traumatic situations.
  • 1994-1995: ALA celebrated “Thirty-five Years of Service.”  The New Mexico governor and Albuquerque mayor proclaimed August 14-21 “Assistance League of Albuquerque Week.”  The 5,000th Buddy Bear was cataloged and added to the permanent collection of the Albuquerque Museum.
  • 1999-2000: Operation School Bell®, which is ALA’s signature program, provided school uniforms for 90 middle school students in APS.
  • 2002-2003: The building at 5211 Lomas NE. was purchased.
  • 2009-2010: ALA returned 83% of its revenue to the community, including clothing for a record 3,600 students.  Funding for these programs was due to the Bargain Box earning almost $264,000, and to over $78,000 in grants, along with the 300 members volunteering over 52,000 hours.
  • 2017-2018: ALA began a new program entitled Assistance League of Albuquerque Partnerships Assisting Albuquerque’s Hungry and Homeless.
  • Today Operation School Bell is the chapter’s largest program and continues to identify and meet the needs of the community. The many ALA programs continue to make important, meaningful contributions to the community.

Check out our 60th Celebration Events!