Operation School Bell Program

Operation School Bell®

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

We partner with Target to allow students and their families to shop together.  Each student receives $100 to select school appropriate clothing and shoes.  It is a wonderful experience for our volunteers to hear the happy voices and see the excitement in the children as they pick out new clothes for the school year ahead.  Target employees, school counselors and Assistance League members all work together to make this happen.

Our Teen Team program, operating under Operation School Bell, is a voucher program for homeless high school students identified by the homeless high school coordinators. The students are given a $125 voucher to purchase clothing and shoes at the Lakeway Fred Meyer.  We are very excited to be able to help these students who have expressed a desire to graduate from high school under adverse circumstances

Books and Beyond, formed in 2021, is the newest philanthropic program serving preschool though 12th grade. The purpose of this program is to coordinate with local school districts as well as other local nonprofits for the promotion of literacy programs.

IMG_1435

Enrichment Scholarship Program

The Enrichment Scholarship Program provides summer scholarships to middle and high school public school students in Whatcom County. Students may apply for summer enrichment camps in a variety of areas such as: music, science, art, debate, technology, dance, leadership and many others.  These scholarships are merit based; not based on financial need.  So, receiving one not only helps make it possible for the recipient to attend an enriching summer program, but it can also be listed on future college applications, which is an important factor in today’s competitive environment.

Providing Christmas gifts for residents in care centers

Care Center Support

The Care Center Support program has evolved over 19 years serving residents in eight Whatcom County care centers without family or friends to remember them on special occasions.  Working through the Activities Directors, Assistance League of Bellingham fulfills personal Christmas wish lists, sends birthday cards and delivers special springtime treats to brighten the spirits of these residents.

Providing emergency clothing for ER patients

Hospital Patient Support

Hospital Patient Support program provides new, comfortable clothing  to the Emergency Department at Peace Health St. Joseph Medical Center.  The nursing staff distributes the clothing (t-shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants) to patients who, in the event of injury, assault or trauma, do not have clothing to wear home from the hospital. The program also provides appropriate new clothing for homeless or disoriented patients who are brought into the emergency room.

Kids growing organic lettuce

Eating Healthy Program

The Eating Healthy Program provides scholarships to Whatcom County students from preschoolers through 8th grade who wish to participate in camps and activities designed to encourage growing and eating organic fruits and vegetables.

We are partnering with a local nonprofit Common Threads Farm which is dedicated to “growing good eaters” by exposing young children to the joy of eating fresh produce.

Normally, the camps would take place at the farm on Western Washington University’s campus. Due to social distancing, that farm is closed this summer. Therefore, Assistance League of Bellingham has worked with Common Threads Farm to support a microgreens and virtual learning program for children whose families cannot afford to pay for their participation.