On January 11, thirty-five AL Chesapeake members packed 950 uniforms for our Operation School Bell, Kids in Need program. They were assisted by four Old Navy employees who volunteered their time to help out. The uniform package consists of a navy blue shirt, khaki pants, navy blue crew neck sweatshirt, socks and underwear. In addition, each student receives a bag of toiletries which includes a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo and conditioner. The toiletries are collected all year at our chapter meetings and are donated by members and members’ dentists. Most students receive one uniform set and some receive two, depending on their need. Our chapter will also be providing about 25 sets of gloves and hats to each school.
The Kids in Need program started in 2010 with Georgetown East Elementary in Annapolis, and then added Meade Heights, Tyler Heights, Van Bokkelen and Germantown elementary schools. In 2015-16, our chapter provided 1,832 uniforms to 1,294 students in five schools. This year, we are on target to provide over 2,000 uniforms to over 1,400 students.
Our chapter measures, packs and distributes uniforms twice a year, in early September when students start school and in January when they return from winter break.
Last year and this year, Assistance League of the Chesapeake received a grant from Maryland Live to provide uniforms to two of the schools, Meade Heights and Van Bokkelen. We received a grant from Parole Rotary to help with uniforms at Tyler Heights.
In 2013, AL Chesapeake formed a partnership with Old Navy who underwrote a significant portion of the cost of the uniforms, and thus was able to increase the number of students served. Our partnership with the Board of Education in Anne Arundel County has been tremendous as well. They provide us with space to store our inventory and to do the packing.