Clothing Students in Need

Happy children receiving new school clothing
Members assemble hygiene kits for schoolchildren

Program History

Our first Operation School Bell® program event was in September of 1993 when children from one area elementary school came in buses to our chapter house where our members helped them choose new school clothing. We served 211 children that first year. In 1994, the first full year of the program, we served 450 children at a cost of $14,000. It was very rewarding for the members to experience firsthand the children’s excitement as they tried on their new clothes and to see the instant boost to their self-esteem.

As the demand grew through the years, we had to develop a more practical system and could no longer have the children come to us. Today we serve three school systems (235 schools) in the metro Atlanta area. In the 2022-2023 school year, we provided one or more clothing items to 12,304 students at a cost of $264,865. In addition, thanks to a generous donation from a family foundation, we are now providing a new book to each child receiving a week’s supply of school clothes. We work with school social workers who identify those children in need in their schools and provide us with each student’s information: uniform color, size, grade, gender and items needed. We then deliver individual bags of clothing, hygiene kits and books for each student to central locations for pickup by the social workers. Our member buyers purchase the clothing in bulk directly from manufacturers and wholesalers.

What is universal in our memories shared, and still true today, is that the members who volunteer with Operation School Bell are honored to be bringing joy and increased self-esteem to schoolchildren in need. We are proud of our remarkable 30-year accomplishment of serving a total of 213,335 children at a cost of $5.4 million.

Testimonials

“Thank you very much for my daughter’s school uniforms.  I did not have the funds to purchase her new school uniforms and I did not worry.  She came home from school with a shopping bag with quality uniforms & accessories.  Thanks so much for your generous donation to a grateful family.”  TW, Atlanta

“My child has been coming to school every day now because she is not embarrassed about her clothes.  She feels good in her uniform and feels like she fit in.”

“Thank you so much for the uniforms purchased for my daughter at Princeton elementary. I am more than grateful.  It is hard enough being a single mother, but it is even more difficult having a special needs child as well as other children in the home. Any and all help is appreciated as it is not often received.”   C.C., Parent

 

“I have had multiple students, particularly homeless students residing in hotels, that only had 1-2 clothing outfits prior to receiving assistance from Operation School Bell. These families have often been uprooted from one living situation to the next and have been forced to leave belongings behind. The look on those children’s faces when they receive the clothes is priceless! I’ll never forget the responses when I delivered new clothes to a sibling set of 4…”We get to keep these?!” The things that most of us take for granted are truly cherished by those who have little. New, clean, clothes makes a huge impact on students on multiple levels (socially, emotionally, and even physically) and allows for them to focus on what’s most important at school- learning.”

Kim Roland, LCSW, School Social Worker

 

2022-2023 Results

Operation School Bell® provides new clothing, uniforms, jackets, belts, shoes, socks, underwear, and hygiene kits to thousands of students in need throughout greater Atlanta.

In the 2022-2023 school year, the Atlanta chapter provided 3,757 students with a week’s worth of school clothes and a new book. Of these 1,217 (32%) were homeless or victims of fire, eviction or abuse. Another 8,547 children were served with one or a few items including clothing, hygiene kits or food/gas cards for the family.

The cost of a week’s elementary/middle school clothing ranges from $77 to $126.  This includes five polo shirts, two pairs of uniform pants, a six-pack of socks, a six-pack of underwear, a jacket, belt, hat, gloves, scarf, personal hygiene kit, and a pair of shoes. If the student is homeless or a fire victim, an additional pair of jeans and two shirts are provided.

School uniform shirts
Bags of new school clothing ready to be delivered
Girls' shirts and pants in the Operation School Bell warehouse

Assistance League of Atlanta is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and donations are tax deductible.

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