On December 11, 2018, Assistance League of San Jose was honored before the San Jose City Council at its monthly meeting.
In August, Assistance League of San Jose was celebrating its 25th anniversary in the Operation School Bell® program which provides school uniforms to students in three different school districts in the San Jose area. Chapter members sign up using a program called “Sign-up-Genius” to volunteer to measure the students in those districts who have been identified by the school as needing a school uniform. All the dates, times and locations, plus the contact person’s name are on the “Sign-up-Genius” website. Our members sign in and select the most convenient time for them to perform this service. We measure from late August to the first week in October. Depending on the school’s need we provide 110 or 150 students school uniforms which consist of two pair of pants, two shirts and two pair of socks.
The volunteer teams number six to eight. They go to the specified school where parent volunteers get the identified students from their classrooms and bring them to the location where the chapter volunteers will measure the students for accurate sizes of uniforms. Then back at our warehouse, members take the recorded sizes and gather the packages of uniforms to be delivered back to the school that day for distribution to the students the next day.
This year we provided over 5,000 students uniforms in 39 different schools. We solicit funds for Operation School Bell from various foundations. The cost for the uniforms this year was $117,000.
For the anniversary celebration in August, I invited the superintendents from each of the school districts, the principals from the 39 school and the city council members from the districts in those school areas. Only one person responded. That person happened to be the Vice Mayor of San Jose. She had also donated $2,500 to the program last year.
When she came and took the stage to speak, she recounted how in 2008 during the housing burst, her husband was a real estate agent at the time. Well, they lost everything. One day her daughter, who was in elementary school, came home with two brand-new school uniforms. They were so grateful, because at the time they could not even afford to buy her school uniforms. They never knew who it was who provided these uniforms to the students in need.
When the Vice Mayor was invited to the anniversary luncheon, she realized that Assistance League was the organization that had assisted her family! She said that her family received the help at the moment they needed it, but that they did not expect to be in that situation forever. Her family was able to work itself out of the situation they were in and now she is the Vice Mayor of a major city! The message is that one never knows the affect that one might have on the lives of others, Sometimes all one needs is a little help at a particular time to be able to take the next step for a better future.
Assistance League of San Jose helped provide that step. To help many other families, the Vice-Mayor thought we should be recognized in public for what we do for the San Jose Community through Operation School Bell and our six other programs. A date to appear before the City Council was arranged. The Mayor helped the Vice Mayor hand out the proclamation and also honor the seven Philanthropic Programs Chairpersons with a certificate of their own for their devotion of time, talent, leadership, and dedication to those in need in our very own community.