February is known for Valentine’s Day… a celebration of love for family and friends. Assistance League member volunteers express their love year-round. They, along with our programs, are the heart of Assistance League and the communities served. With loving and giving hearts, our 23,000 member volunteers in 120 chapters across the nation participate in programs focused on basic needs, education and self-esteem. These programs touch the hearts and minds of children and adults who need our help.
Our hearts know no boundaries. Assistance League programs serve those in need, whether they are young, old, students, teachers, homeless, abused, or mentally and physically challenged.
What does this mean to our communities?
Last year, our member volunteers returned $39.3 million to local communities, served 1.5 million people and donated 3.2 million hours of their time.
Through our signature program Operation School Bell®, 331,000 children received new school clothing; health assistance, including hearing, vision and/or dental care; and literacy, cultural and higher educational enrichment.
How else does Assistance League touch hearts? Here are just a few examples:
Serving Foster Youth—Fostering Friends
Since 2000, the Fostering Friends program at Assistance League of Santa Barbara has served approximately 1,400 teens between the ages of 18 to 21. Fostering Friends was created to help emancipating foster teens make the transition from foster care to independent living. Assistance League volunteers partner with local agencies to provide teens with clothing for school and work. Duffle bags filled with essentials for independent living also are provided. Volunteers mentor and reinforce positive choices as part of this program.
Serving Hungry Children—Weekend Food Pantry and Backpack Initiative
Through these programs and others, chronically hungry children of low-income families are sent home each Friday with a backpack of nonperishable food. The backpack of food provides the nutrition needed for children to remain healthy and arrive at school ready to participate and learn in class every Monday.
Serving Victims of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a human rights issue. Chapters, such as Assistance League of the Eastside, believe that everyone deserves to live in an environment where they feel safe from harm, free from oppression and empowered to reach their full potential. Baskets filled with more than 80 household items are provided to local shelters so families fleeing domestic abuse can rebuild their lives in safety.
Restoring Dignity through Assault Survivor Kits®
Assistance League chapters work with hospitals in their communities to provide assault survivors with essential care items and new clothing that can be worn home after treatment. The goal is to restore dignity at a time when these individuals are most in need of comfort and security.
Providing Hope and Optimism for the Homeless and Families in Crisis
Assistance League chapters work with agencies that refer individuals and families through programs such as Operation New Beginnings. Families select clothing, household goods and other items from chapter thrift shops so they can begin recovery from a crisis.
Providing Joy with Birthday in a Bag
Assisteens® deliver birthday bags filled with everything parents need to ensure that their children have the best birthday party ever; one that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
DreamCatchers, an auxiliary of Assistance League of Huntington Beach, supports seniors by delivering holiday bags at Thanksgiving and Easter filled with snacks, stationery, stamps, grocery or gas cards, and other goodies. For some seniors, this is the only gift they will receive at the holidays.
Would you like to be part of an organization with a big heart? Consider joining a chapter in your community.