History of Assistance League® of the Bay Area
The idea of a national service organization in the Bay Area first surfaced in 1988. Assistance League® of Houston researched to determine if our area could and would support the philanthropic programs and fundraising activities of such an organization. The Houston chapter asked Bay Area volunteer leaders to form a steering committee to help them organize an auxiliary for our community.
On October 5, 1988, Assistance League of Houston and the steering committee held an invitational meeting at the Houston Yacht Club. On November 15, 1988, eighty-five charter members formed the Bay Area Auxiliary of Assistance League of Houston. By January, enthusiastic members organized Operation School Bell®. Programs at Armand Bayou Nature Center and the University of Houston-Clear Lake followed.
In 1992, after much research and deliberation, our auxiliary took the necessary steps to become a chapter of Assistance League®. With the approval of our founding chapter, and ultimately the Assistance League Board, Assistance League of the Bay Area was chartered as a guild in January 1993. Assistance League of the Bay Area was chartered in May 1994.
Today we have approximately 170 members who volunteer in the Bay Area about 25,000 hours each year for our philanthropic programs. Also, we have a very active Assisteens® auxiliary composed of approximately 170 male and female high school students. These students work on their philanthropic programs and assist Assistance League with various programs.
Assistance League of the Bay Area provides services for our community through philanthropic programs:
Operation School Bell provides new clothing and hygiene kits for elementary, intermediate, and high school students who have been referred by authorized campus personnel from the local area schools.
Operation Support Our Schools provides nutritional support, tutoring services, vision referrals, eyeglasses, and donated dental care to identified students of the in-school dropout prevention program.
Operation Cinderella provides economically disadvantaged high school senior girls and boys with everything necessary to have a positive prom experience as well as serves economically disadvantaged JROTC females attending spring Military Balls.
The Community Outreach Program, a flexible program that provides goods or services to recipients on a limited basis, allows the chapter to meet a range of community needs on a one-time or short-term basis.
The Ready for Work Program provides interview-appropriate clothing for individuals referred by United Way of Greater Houston THRIVE Center at Bay Area, The Bridge Over Troubled Waters, and Family Promise.
Assistance League funds these programs through various fundraising activities. Assistance League has an annual fundraising event. In 1996, a decision was made by the membership to produce a cookbook. Settings on the Dock of the Bay was available for sale in October 1999. A second cookbook, Settings Sunrise to Sunset, was published in April 2007. These two publications were retired in October 2020. The chapter’s resale shop is a significant source of funds for the philanthropic programs. Grants received from foundations, businesses, and individuals contribute as well.
The philanthropic programs are continually evaluated and retired or expanded as new demands and needs arise.