OPERATION SCHOOL BELL®
Operation School Bell is the signature program of Assistance League of Bend and has, for over 30 years, enabled thousands of vulnerable Deschutes County schoolchildren in grades K-12 to go to school with confidence and self-esteem wearing new clothing they have chosen for themselves.
According to the Oregon Department of Education, one in five children in Deschutes County live in poverty. Surveys show that children go to school with confidence and self-esteem when wearing new clothing they have chosen for themselves. Attendance improves and bullying decreases.
The students are referred by the local Family Access Network and have the opportunity to shop with a parent and Assistance League’s all-volunteer members and community volunteers. The program has been administrated in partnership with Walmart stores in Bend and Redmond and is made possible through grants, fundraisers and donations from the supportive and generous people within the community.
Operation School Bell Emergency Clothing
In addition, Assistance League of Bend provides emergency clothing to children entering or transitioning in the foster care system through a partnership with Every Child Central Oregon. Children entering foster care are often taken from their homes very quickly with little time to gather their belongings. Many of them leave with only the clothes they are wearing. We offer two ways to meet those needs:
- Emergency Clothing Bundles provide a complete outfit, including a sweatshirt, socks, underwear, pajamas, etc. to sustain the foster child for one to two days.
- Emergency Dressings provide new school clothing using the same “Tickets to Shop” provided during our Operation School Bell shopping events. Throughout the year, our members meet with foster families at Walmart, on a case-by-case basis, to purchase necessary essential clothing.
Operation School Bell Literacy
To promote literacy, Assistance League of Bend distributes thousands of new age-appropriate books to low-income children annually. They distribute the books at a variety of community events including the “Page to Screen” movie nights at the Tower Theatre in Bend and pop-ups at local schools like Rosland Elementary in La Pine and Redmond High School. Students can select new books based on their interests and grade level; K-2, 3-5 or 6-8. Assistance League of Bend’s Operation School Bell Literacy initiative helps children continue to improve their reading skills and encourages a lifelong habit.