Why Are All Those Red and White Gift Cards on the Wall at the Shop?

Photo of Penney's Gift Cards on Wall at our shop

Bulletin Board at our shop

Each red and white JCPenney’s gift card represents one student clothed in our Operation School Bell program. Last year we clothed 2,123 kids in total!

Assistance League of Bellingham is best known for its signature program, Operation School Bell, which provides new school clothing to students in need in grades K through 12 in all eight Whatcom County schools: Bellingham, Blaine, Ferndale, Lynden, Meridian, Mt. Baker, Nooksack Valley and Lummi Nation. Each district is allotted a specific number of “slots” based on enrollment percentage of low income and homeless families. The school district liaison coordinators, who work with low income and homeless families, select the students who participate in Operation School Bell.

We have partnered with Bellis Fair JCPenney to allow students and their families to shop together according to their own schedule. Each approved student receives a $125 gift card to purchase their school appropriate clothing. Any balance left on a gift card is returned to Operation School Bell by JCPenney to provide additional funds to be used for helping more students. We have a hard working team of school coordinators, JCPenney employees and Assistance League of Bellingham volunteers who consider it a privilege to help so many students in need and we all work together to make this happen.