Sierra Foothills – Operation School Bell® helps local students with clothing needs and books

To help children with new school clothes, volunteers from Assistance League Sierra Foothills visit South Lake Tahoe each Fall to take local children shopping.

On the big day, the chosen students get a shopping voucher for $70 if in grades K-5, and $100 in middle school and hit the aisles for school-related clothing including shoes, pants, sweaters and other needed items. They also get to pick out a book of their choice and they all leave with a huge bag of new clothes, wide grins and a renewed sense of confidence.

The new clothes also help with the children’s self-esteem.

“In today’s economy, there is such a great need for programs like this. One student thanked me profusely for the new clothes she had gotten. She shared that her mother had not been able to buy her anything new for school this year and that she was wearing used clothing that someone had given her,” said retired STMS Counselor JoAnn Hernandez.

“I am an 8th grader at South Lake Tahoe Middle School,” said one of the students involved. “I am currently in a group home in Tahoe and was able to participate in the Operation School Bell Program. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity that your organization gave me to find some new clothing. I do not receive a clothing allowance, and though I have gotten a few new clothes from the group home, the money I received today really, really helped. Especially with fall around the corner!”

In October of 2020, 261 South Lake Tahoe children from low income families were treated to the day of shopping.
Due to COVID-19 the group’s normal fundraisers could not be held this year. Gardens of the Hills Tour and a Holiday Home Tour, both on the West Slope, are held to raise funds for Operation School Bell.